Tag Archives: Gods Gift

He’s Making a List…..

As the song says,

He’s making a list

checking it twice

gonna find out

whose naughty and nice

This may be true for good old Santa Claus. We are told he keeps a list in hopes of manipulating us into toeing a line of good behavior. His list is supposed to have the names of the naughty and nice children but I have never heard of any naughty ones. Have you? Perhaps there were naughty children who got coal for Christmas in a land long ago and far away but to my knowledge every one gets on the “Nice” list these days.

Sadly, this mind set has carried over into the secular thoughts about God and Heaven. Some people see God as a Santa in the sky Who they can make a wish to when they want something.  Furthermore, there is the belief that all the world will eventually be seen as “nice” or just and therefore will be saved. There’s never a thought of whether or not they are naughty or nice. If there is any guilt about bad behavior they simply bargain the consequences away promising to do better if He will only just come threw this time for them.

God is concerned with whether or not we do the right thing although His idea of “Nice” is not the same as ours. We can try to live a good life and be a good person but by whose standards do we see “Good”? God gave us the Ten Commandments to show us what is expected of us and to open our eyes to the fact that we can never live up to them. At least not by ourselves. He is ready willing and able to help us live that victorious life. This is the very reason we have this holiday season. It’s a very well known passage of scripture but always bears repeating –

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 NKJV

Our in ability to live up to Gods Standard of righteousness (otherwise referred to as Sin), is the very reason we needed a Savior. God Almighty sent the answer to our sin problem. Rather than just let us wallow in our inability He freely chose to come to us and take on our fragile form and pay the penalty for our sins. There is, however, one very simple condition that is left for us. We have to accept that this was done for us because we are sinners and repent of our sinfulness. Once we do this we can honor His sacrifice by letting Him lead us down a path of righteousness – His righteousness.

For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37 NKJV

But this salvation the Savior brings requires an action on our part. It isn’t just given to us the day we are born. we have to accept this gift by recognizing our need and asking Jesus to be our Lord as well as Savior. It really is that simple. Thankfully!

But although he made the world, the world didn’t recognize him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few would welcome and receive him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them.  All those who believe this are reborn!—not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan—but from the will of God. John 1:10-13 LB

 The Reason 1

He’s making a list and I hope your name is on it because one day there will be a reading of the lists and a separating of the naughty and the nice – Jesus told us about that day several times –

 “Just as in this story the thistles are separated and burned, so shall it be at the end of the world: I[will send my angels, and they will separate out of the Kingdom every temptation and all who are evil,  and throw them into the furnace and burn them. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the godly shall shine as the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Let those with ears, listen!  Mat 13:40-43

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”Acts 16:29-31 LB

This may not be the usual or politically correct Christmas message but the truth can be hard to hear sometimes but nevertheless needs to be stated………

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR FRIENDS

and God Bless you in the New Year, Al and Betty

"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" is a Christmas song. 
It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie

God of Wonders – Happy Hanukkah

I will remember the works of the Lord:

surely I will remember thy wonders of old. (a)

Remember the wonderful works He has done,

His wonders, and the judgments He has pronounced, (b)

It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs

and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. (c)

 

God of Wonders. Glorious, Marvelous, Unchangeable, Unshakable!

As the celebration of Hanukkah begins tonight, I, a Christian, am excited. Excited because it is a celebration of a miracle that God performed on behalf of His people – yet again! Truly, He is the God of Wonders and all the world should be reminded of that fact from time to time.

Another miracle He performed is what we Christians celebrate this time of year – the Birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ! Christmas is a miracle. Not just because of the virgin birth, which is miraculous of course, but because the God and creator of the whole universe freely, willingly and joyfully chose to be born a helpless child and grow up into a man Who would die to save those He loves.

Yes, I am aware that Easter is in Spring but the Resurrection story begins in a manger. A humble beginning for a King. A common occurrence for an uncommon Man. The start of a life of service, and ultimately sacrifice, for the  people He made and loves so very much.

So, no matter if you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas, you are celebrating a miraculous work performed by the God of Wonders.

Happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish friends around the world.

May God Bless you during this feast.

 

(a) Ps. 77:11 KJV (b) Ps. 105:5 HCSB (c) Dan 4:2 NIV

 

The Lord Reigns!!!

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns!!

 

Regardless of what we think

The Lord Reigns!

Regardless of what we see

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of what we feel

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of the nations on earth

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of the troubles we face

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns

and He will be magnified in all the earth

and will show His love to you

No matter whatever you may be going threw today please take refuge under His wings and know that He reigns over all the earth and He will save you because He loves you.

Remembering Those Who Paid The Price

Freedom is never free.

Someone has to pay for it.

Currently 2,717,991 men and women have died or been wounded in conflicts from 1775 to present. Once a year we set aside a day to remember them and be grateful. Its a day of celebration. A day off from work. A day to spend with family and friends. A day some mark as the “unofficial” start to the Summer season. No matter what we call that day we get to enjoy it safely under the blanket of protection and freedom purchased by the blood of those who answered a call to arms. We owe them a debt we can never repay. I doubt that they would accept payment from us if we could. It is their gift to us.

Land of the free

I am Proud to be An American by Lee Greenwood

On a hill far away a long time ago One Man gave His Life so that those who followed after Him would be Free also. Freedom from sin and freedom from death itself. We owe Him a debt we can never repay. I know that He wouldn’t accept payment from us if we could. It is His gift to us and we could never earn it.

As we enjoy this Memorial Day holiday and whatever it may bring, let us take a moment to remember those who gave their all to purchase our freedom here in America. Let us also consider Him who came and died so that we might be free from the sting of sin and death. Consider the gift of God, the price He paid and whether or not you will accept His gift to be free for all eternity.

Happy Memorial Day! God Bless.

“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him. People who believe in God’s Son are not judged guilty. Those who do not believe have already been judged guilty, because they have not believed in God’s one and only Son.They are judged by this fact: The Light has come into the world, but they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things.All who do evil hate the light and will not come to the light, because it will show all the evil things they do.But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God.” John 3:16-21 NCV

HE’S ALIVE!

 He’s Alive! He’s Alive! He’s Alive and I am forgiven!

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  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.   1 Cor 15:17 HCSB

But He did rise and when He died the veil in the Temple was torn in half from top to bottom signifying that we can boldly go directly to God because of the life-changing work that Jesus did that day.

Truly, He is alive and we are forgiven – Heavens gates are open wide.

He is alive! No great mystery. No Doctrinal dissertation. No religious dogma. No rules and regulations. No fees to be paid or tolls to pass threw.

Just open up your heart and let Him Love You!

 Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.  Rev 3:20 HSCB

 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   Matthew 11:28 KJV

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 1:23 KJV

This is an old song but a good one which speaks to the joy of that early morning. Please take a minute (or 4:51) to be blessed by it

Happy Resurrection Sunday

He’s Alive – by Don Francisco presented here on YouTube

Counting the Cost – Part 1 of the Hard Words Hard Work Series

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:62 KJV

I was a new Christian when I first saw this Scripture verse. It was painted over the doorway to a cabinet makers shop and I thought -” That can’t be right?!?!” I looked it up and found it to be true even if it seemed harsh. As I grew in the Word I found other “hard words” from our Savior – But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Without Me you can do nothing; He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him;* as well as others.

In this series I will shine a light on some of these and we can discuss how they may or may not apply to us today. Another translation of this verse says – But Jesus told him, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”Luke 9:62 Living Bible. This may not be any less harsh but perhaps easier to understand. Christ requires our devotion. He has earned it. Total commitment is expected. In the Old Testament we see God telling Abraham – walk before Me, and be thou perfect Gen 17:1 KJV Be perfect! Wow! Add this to the list of some 613 laws that we are commanded to obey and we have a tough job ahead of us. So, we should consider the cost –

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if he has enough money to pay the bills? Luke 14:28 LB

Consider the cost. What is it going to take to follow Jesus? Mark records an encounter a rich your ruler had with Jesus where the young man asks Jesus “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” To which Jesus repliesYou know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother. The young man answers Jesus by saying he has done all that since he was a child. Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” The rich young ruler went away sorrowful because he had great possessions.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? Mark 8:36 NASB

So, do we take away from this that Jesus wants us to give up all of our worldly possessions and follow Him? Well, maybe. If, as was the case here, those possessions mean more to you then following Jesus into eternity. I think that this young man (who some speculate may have been Nicodemus of John 3) thought that there was an easy way to secure eternity. Jesus saw that this man was proud, successful and perhaps greedy. Proud, because he said he kept all of the law when it really isn’t possible to do so. Successful, well, he was rich so that’s a given. Greedy, because he could not consider the cost of giving his possessions away even if it meant gaining eternity. In reality, he had nothing to loose and everything to gain.

 – TO BE CONTINUED –

 *Matthew 5:44, John 15:5, John 6:56 KJV

Ashes to Ashes

Ash Wednesday 2014 to millions (or more) Christians today mark the beginning of Lent

  Wikipedia says – Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms giving, atonement and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

OK, So we have 6 weeks of prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms giving, atonement and self-denial.

   I have two problems with this concept. The first is the obvious one – just six weeks? What about the other 46 weeks? But I think it’s a given that we should be a witness of God’s love all year long so I’ll leave that there – for now. Likewise, prayer, repentance of sins, alms giving and self-denial (also referred to as self-control) are all good things for a true believer to do year round. But, its the reason that these things are done that align them with the misguided concept of penance and atonement. I am not saying that millions of people are wrong for following their hearts during these next 6 weeks. I am saying that the goals or ideals of such an exercise is not Biblical and misleading. Unfortunately, the evidence of this misguided adventure is heralded at the end of it all – Jesus Christs’ trial, death and resurrection!!

 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:But this man (Jesus Christ), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:11-22 KJV

after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God vs 12

   Jesus carried out the ultimate “self-denial” by suffering and dieing on the cross that WE deserved to be put upon. Furthermore, having done this He put an end to the sacrifices of the Temple and the old way –Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  Heb 9:12 KJV. The veil of separation in the Temple was ripped in two down the middle from top to bottom when He died on that cross signifying the end of the old and the beginning of the new. As if that wasn’t enough – Jesus’ own last words from the cross should quiet the debate – It is finished. John 19:30 KJV

Still, Paul addresses this –  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:8-10 KJV or otherwise put this way in the Living Bible – Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves;it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it. It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others

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Finally, We can not EARN our salvation. If we could do that Jesus would not have had to come and die for our sins. Having done that though, lets not insult the gift of God by trying to earn it. That would be like trying to pay me for a the present I gave you for your birthday even though you have no money or source of income. As I mentioned before,  prayer,repentance of sins and alms giving are all good things that every Christian should do daily out of a thankful heart towards God but atonement, penance and self-denial as a way of earning salvation is futile because its already been done and can not be added to. Celebrate the fact that Jesus Loved YOU enough to hang on a cross so that you don’t have to and be grateful. Truly, deeply and sincerely grateful.

To obey is better than sacrifice 1 Sam 15:22 KJV

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifice as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Sam 15:22 HCSB