For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
If you watch golf at all – you are well aware that at many golf tournaments – someone will probably have a sign behind the golfers (where the cameras catch it) that reads John 3:16. This passage hit home with me this week as I watched the national and international scene unfold around us. I understand nationalism and I think I understand our need to protect our boarders and our people from terrorists and other threats. I listen to the debates about building a wall – denying certain people entrance into the USA – and the need to keep track of certain people. It can be very confusing at times and very mind blowing.
As Christians who are from a certain nation – we are often caught dealing with our national interests and our Christian global interests. Christ died for the whole world (although all will not accept His free gift of salvation). Christ died for the people we are trying to keep out of our nation – even the criminal elements. It is a hard place at times. It is tough taking a stand because there are arguments on both sides of most discussions. Continue reading
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
Merry Christmas to all! I want to wish each and every one a Merry Christmas. May God bless you real good today and I don’t mean with some gift that someone may or may not be giving you! I mean with the love of Christ and the love of Christ working through you and others.
I’ve been writing most of the month about Christmas (have you enjoyed the Christmas Praises folks have shared?). I prepared for a long weekend this year with Christmas Eve on a Saturday and Christmas on a Sunday. My Christmas Eve is usually pretty busy with three services (4 – 7 – 11 pm). I will not arrive home – once I leave for church – until well past 1 am on Christmas Day. There is a part of me that is glad that we don’t have little ones to prepare for on Christmas morning (at home – not counting the grandchildren) – because this old salt would be one tired puppy if I had to put together a bunch of Christmas toys or bikes before the children woke. On the other hand – I will miss the joy of seeing little children opening their gifts and their giggles as they find something special under the tree for them! I hope the grandchildren give me that thrill again this year or real soon.
As I sip on my hot chocolate and listen to Pentatonix sing Christmas songs on YouTube I am reminded of the gifts that we give and receive at Christmas. Gifts have been a part of Christmas since the first Christmas! Continue reading
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Who do we know that does not attend worship on a regular basis? Maybe we don’t. Maybe it is a child – sibling – parent – uncle – aunt – grandparent – neighbor – best friend – another soccer mom (dad) – a co-worker – a person you work out with – a fellow farmer – and on and on we could go?
If you believe Scripture when it says – John 14:6 – Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me – then you believe that knowing Jesus is essential for salvation and thus being allowed to come into the presence of God the Father – to go to heaven. If you believe Scripture when it says – Romans 10:14 – How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” – then you realize how important coming to worship is for presenting the truth to people.
WHO DO YOU KNOW THAT DOES NOT KNOW JESUS AS THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR? Invite them to a special event or some Sunday with you. Each week encourage someone to come with you so that the Gospel might be presented to them, and that they might come to know Jesus. Be persistent. Invite them again and again – if necessary – until they come with you. IT IS ESSENTIAL that we have a heart for the lost and reach out to them NOW. Continue reading
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Thanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – Easter – Pentecost – etc. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls (and soon the grandchildren) are thankful for always touches my heart.
I’m the crier in the family. An example was when I totally lost it at my wife’s 50th birthday party some years ago. I’m not sure why – other than we were honoring her for the awesome woman of God she has always been. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow. Continue reading
37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
I thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.
As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?
I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading