All of our life, we want to belong somewhere. We search for the place where we belong. Sometimes it does take a long time. Sometimes it takes all of our lifetime. But there is a drive in us to find that place. We all know that when we find that place, we’ll be home. Because of my experiences in life, I was stubborn about most everything. I didn’t want to get it wrong and lose everything. My success rate was not real good and it made me leary of most everything. I wanted a guarantee that I wouldn’t lose my life to stupid. My intelligence always got in the way of life. it has cost me dearly. But what guarantee is there in this life? It took me 28 years to find out that there really is a guarantee in this life. It requires my surrender to acquire it. I had to surrender my intelligence and will and yes my stubbornness. The expectation of getting a guarantee in this life excited me to no end. And I was willing to give up my useless attempt to live a decent life. That is what it is about. Wanting to live a good life, where all my needs are taken care of. I had always known about the guarantee, but I always thought that I could do it myself. It’s not that I am weak or not determined to accomplish my goals. I have a very strong will and am determined in most everything to accomplish my will. I am a type A personality. And I am determined in most everything. But that doesn’t mean that I will accomplish my will in everything. The guarantee has been around for 1000’s of years. Actually, He has been here since the beginning of time. The reason is that He created time. Yes I am talking about one person. Jesus is the beginning and the end of all things. And He has the power to change my life. Which Jesus has changed me in an ongoing basis. I am being changed into the image and likeness of God. You see, I am a son of God. I am one of His children and I am headed home to heaven. My Father provides for this life and for the life to come. Remember to have this life requires surrender of our lives to Jesus. Just ask Him to forgive you and allow Jesus into your heart.
We are who we are. As the years go by, we develop a confidence in our ability to reason. But is it confidence or stubbornness. I don’t know how many times I heard the expression, you have a hard head. I wasn’t the only one. There is an engrained resistance to following and obeying. The scripture say, foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child and the rod of disciple will drive it far from them. But there seems to be a remnant left in us wanting to do our own thing. Most of the time, it means right back into trouble. Even if we have surrendered our hearts to Jesus, that rebellion still shows it’s ugly head. That’s why it’s a choice that we have to make every day, all the way home. God has the plan for our lives and the only condition is to follow and obey. So, when we know better, we are about 2 steps from falling on our face. It has to be a conscious decision on our part. Even if we have to rely on other people. As the scripture says, behold the old man is dead and we have become brand new in Jesus. As the Apostle Paul walked on this earth, he said I die daily. He did this so Jesus could lve through him. So, why is it so hard to hear or listen?
With the new year swiftly approaching, what going to happen next? No one knows the future, but God. People go through all kinds of gyrations to prove that there isn’t a God. But the truth is that not only is He real, but intervenes in the affairs of man. As far as the future is concerned, God only guarantees now. We have no guarantee that we will live beyond today. We hope we will. But that isn’t a guarantee. This is where God comes into play. We all know that we are going to die. That’s a fact. Now we can choose where we will go after we die. That’s our choose in life. But once you are dead, it’s all but the crying. God has a plan for each of us. This plan is how to get home to heaven. You see, this isn’t our home. We are just strangers in a foreign land. The promised land is heaven, not earth. You can choose whatever plan you want. This plan you choose will lead you to either of 2 places, heaven or hell. Whatever way you choose, know that you are only guaranteed today. So what is going to happen next, I leave that up to God and His wisdom.
Joseph and Mary decided to stay in Bethlehem after Jesus was born. They began their life again. Joseph was a skilled carpenter. His services were needed everywhere. God came to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt. King Herod wanted to kill Jesus. When Joseph woke up, he pack up everything and left for Egypt with his family. They lived there until another angel told him it was safe to go home. When they returned Herod’s son was ruling in Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary decided to return to Nazareth. To fulfill the scripture that says, He will be called a Nazarene. God orchestrated everything. His plan for Jesus was no difference than the one for your life. Because Jesus is our example. When you think all hell has broken loose, God’s plan is working. Open your eyes and see the hand of God working in your life.
Every family has their own style of Christmas. Usually it’s our parents that make the decision on what Christmas is all about. Our grandparents also influence the type of Christmas we celebrate. But the head of the family is our parents and they make the finally decision. It was not different with God. God being our Father and also in charge of the universe, makes the finally decisions about our lives here on earth. God didn’t make the celebration of the day Christmas. Man made that decision. But God decided to sent His son Jesus to earth to redeem us. With that decision, Man wanted to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our family, grandmother, parents, aunts and uncle and all my cousins would gather at our home for food and presents. When we were young, we were 8 boy cousins and no girls. It was a lot of football, basketball and baseball. When we got older and our grandmother and our parents went on, our traditions changed. My cousins are spread out over this country. It hard to get together for the holidays. But the traditions are still there, celebrating the family, especially Jesus and our family. God spoke to me and told me that He couldn’t wait for me to get home. I want to go home not just for the holidays, but forever. So, celebrate the Christmas holidays knowing the God is except you home to celebrate with Him.
What is the Joy of Christmas? I can remember when I was young, waiting for Christmas day to arrive. The anticipation of receiving gifts from Santa Claus. I know that my parents enjoyed blessing us with gifts. We were 4 boys and my parents had a limited budget. But amazing gifts always showed up. At the age of 9, I wanted to test the idea of Santa Clause. So, I asked for something without telling anyone. And of course, it didn’t show up. It shook my faith and trust in people. It took a long time before I trusted again. This revelation also took the joy out of Christmas. Many people think that learning the truth about Santa Clause is a right of passage for children. But it really shakes the faith and the ability to trust people. Our focus should be on Jesus and the gifts that God brings to us. When we believe in Jesus, he won’t let us down. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. It is because the joy of the Lord is our strength. We say that the reason for the season is Jesus, but we go around with our heads hung down and cussing. We spend to much money on nothing and hope that it will bring us joy. Having faith and trusting in someone is where Christmas should lead us. Jesus paid a price for us that we couldn’t pay. This gift is freely giving to us. And if we accept this gift from God, we will forever be transformed into the image and likeness of God. This gift is what we need to be excited about. Things are nice, but they don’t last. It is like happiness. It comes and goes. But the Joy that God gives will last forever. This is the true joy of Christmas.
May God bless and keep you in this Christmas season. And that Jesus will prosper you in the coming year.
Nehemiah and the Israelites had returned to the land of promise. He gathered all the people and had Ezra to read the Bible. He read from early in the morning until noon. The people began to wept. They hadn’t heard the word of God for years. The people were so upset that Nehemiah and the Levites had to try to calm them down. Nehemiah stopped the reading at noon. He told the people that the joy of the Lord is our strength. The Israelites had just come out of captivity. God had set them free, but they knew they had cause the captivity in first place. The people had repented of their sins when they heard the word of God. The word of God leads us to repentance. As it is read, we see the truth of God, how much He loves us and wants us to come home. For whatever reason you celebrate Christmas, if you turn your focus on Jesus you will see the real reason for the season. It isn’t that He was born. The real reason is that God loves us and is moving heaven and earth to get us home. Make your Christmas about Jesus, so your family and friends can see the truth of God. They may cry at first, but the joy comes in the morning. It is because the joy of the Lord is our strength. The word Christmas means having communion with Christ. Have a blessed communion with Christ and a prosperous New Year.
I am listening to Christmas music and memories are flooding in my mind. I sang in the choir both elementary and high school, Music has been an important of my life. God is the person who invented music for worship and praise. When angels sing it’s such heavenly music. But the best song is reserved for the saints. It is the song of the redeemed. It is so sweet and beautiful that the angels stop and listen. As I was growing up, our family would always gather for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. But Christmas was so special. Usually it was at our home. When I was young, it was my grandmother, grand aunts, aunts and uncles and all my cousins and us. There was always room. The kids played outside, the women were in the kitchen and the men were in the front room. We all sat down to eat together. Afterwards we would open presents. Those memories are like they happened yesterday. I miss my parents, my grandmother and all the family that has gone on. My brothers and my cousins are scattered across the country. We don’t get together often. But I have my memories. I have tried to teach my children the value of family. I tried to make as many memories as I can for them. As you grow older, things change. Nothing remains the same. Except for one thing. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I want to encourage you to make as many memories for your family as you can. These memories will last for a lifetime. Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year.
Christmas season is upon us. Although it has changed due to Covid-19. This year has been life altering for most people. Sometimes change is hard. And with change comes the blues. There is such a disconnection between people with the social distancing and masks. With masks, people don’t know or see who you are. I see fear in people all the time. I tell people hello and some answer back. I tell people Merry Christmas and it is like I’m from another planet. Christmas is about family and friends, connecting or reconnecting to establish our relationship. But it is now about overcoming fear. Fear is unbelief and doubt. The devil is trying hard to discourage Christians from reaching out with the gospel. Unfortunately, it is working. Our life isn’t about food, shelter or clothing. As a Christian we were called to a higher purpose. Jesus gave us the example on how to live. The religious leaders of the day wanted to kill Jesus. And Jesus was stalked everyday. Yet you don’t find Jesus crying about it. He went about doing good and healing everyone that came to Him. Our path is clear. The road home is before us. Now if you walk down that road, you are going to receive opposition or persecution. Jesus said if the world hated Him, how much more will they hate you. So, what are you going to do? How do we overcome mountains? It is simple. We use our faith to navigate this world. Jesus always said it going to be simple to follow Him. He never said it was easy. Christmas season is a time for us to rejoice. Be joyful with your family and friends. Let them see Jesus in you. Then they will know that God is alive and real. And we fulfill our part of the gospel. I pray that your Christmas season is blessed and fruitful. Amen.
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