Christmas is two weeks away. Two weeks from today will be Christmas Eve. So, what do we need to celebrate Christmas?
Someone says, “Oh, there are gifts I have to purchase. I’m not ready for Christmas just yet.” But we don’t have to purchase one gift and we can still celebrate Christmas.
Someone else says, “I have some more dexorating to do then I will be ready for Christmas.” But, you don’t have to put up any decorations and we can still celebrate Christmas.
Someone else says, “Oh, I’ve got to make Christmas cookies. I ALWAYS make Christmas cookies.”. Christmas cookies are delicious but we don’t have to have Christmas cookies to celebrate Christmas.
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus? It’s that simple. We could celebrate Christmas by simply taking a day and worshiping the Lord and thanking HIM for his gift of Jesus. That’s all that’s needed. The other things are nice…the decorations, gifts, etc… but we don’t have to have them.
I encourage you to join me in celebrating Christmas…. focusing on the birth of Jesus, Savior of the world. That’s what Christmas is.
A little girl was awakened by a thinderstorm. She ran to her parents room and climbed in bed with them. Her Father, trying to console her said, “Honey, it’s ok; Jesus is with you.” The little gurl replied, “I know Daddy but I want someone with skin on.”
When we are anxious or lonely, we all want someone with skin on.
The Christmas story tells us that Jesus is God with skin on. Matthew tells us that Jesus is Emmanuel; “God with us.”
Today, whatever we are dealing with…God is with us.
Are you lonely? God is with you.
Anxious? God is with you.
Stressed out?…take a deep breath..God is with you.
But, you may ask, HOW is God with you? He’s with us through His word. His word speaks to our hearts.
He is with us through prayer.We can talk to the Father 24/7/365.
He is with us through music.
He is with us through people. Friends encourage us in times of adversity.
Christian, God may speak to you about someone…God may put someone on your heart. If He does, you could be the answer to someone’s prayer.
God is with us in Jesus.
(Transparent post.. in hopes it helps someone…
“Come, let us return to the Lord.
For He has torn us but He will heal us.
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
He will revive us after two days
He will raise us up on the third day.
That we may live before Him” (Hosea 6:1-2).
Those verses spoke to my heart this morning… “Come, let us return to the Lord.” They speak to me because I had drifted from the Lord.
In the last month or so, the Lord has been doing a work in my heart. It started with preparation for a Sunday School lesson when David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of my salvation” (Psalm 51).
That verse spoke to me.. because I had lost the joy. My heart had become filled with bitterness… I was dwelling on past wrongs… I had bad attitudes. I had a distorted view of ministry.
But then, God spoke to me… i had drifted. I was still saved and I still loved the Lord… was worshiping… giving… etc… But my heart wasn’t right. It hadn’t been right in some time. I had made some bad decisions…
So, as I read Hosea 6 this morning, it’s as if the Lord was speaking directly to me.. “Come now, let us return to the Lord.”
It’s as if the Lord is saying, “Gregg… you have drifted, buddy… I know you still love me… I know you are reading your Bible…. tithing… etc… I know you still hold to the faith… But you have drifted.. Return to me.. Although I have torn you, I will heal you… Although I have wounded you.. I will bandage you.”
And so, this morning, I am convicted. i need to return to the Lord… God has torn me some… but He will heal… God has wounded me some… but He will bandage me..
Maybe you are like me… you have drifted from the Lord. If so, I encourage you to return to the Lord today. The Lord loves us and wants the best for us.
“Though our sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).
I don’t write this post to pretend to be super spiritual or “holier than thou…” I’ve never been comfortable with those attitudes. I’m just a sinner saved by grace. I have failed… and I will fail again… I am human… We all have flaws… But, I had drifted and I need to return to the Lord.
If you have drifted, “Return to the Lord… He will bandage us and heal us.”
We live in a day of text messages and email. There is nothing wrong with using both of those at times but, the best way to communicate with someone is still, face-to-face. A text is fine. A phone call is good. Email is also good. But there is nothing quite like talking with someone face-to-face.
Willie Nelson used to have song he sung with others entitled, “Old Friends.” The chorus to the song went;
“Old friends Lord when all my work is done
Bless my life and grant me one old friend just one old friend.”
Old friends are special. They warm our hearts and encourages us. We laugh with our friends and swap stories of things that have happened in our lives.
In II John 2:12, John said, “I hope to come to you and speak face-to-face that your may be made full.” Think about what John said… “I hope… to speak face-to-face that your joy may be made full.” Talking with a friend face-to-face is one of the greatest blessings of life.
Is there someone you haven’t spoken to in a while? Someone you need to see? Don’t use a text.. although there is a place for that… or an email… go see them. You making time to talk with someone should let that person now how special they are.
The Christmas season is a great time to catch up with friends. Is there someone you need to see today? Do it, and boy of you will experience joy.
We believe that the blood of Jesus covers all sins. We believe that “if we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins” (I John 1:9). But, John tells us in I John 5:16, “There is a sin leading to death…” What sin was John referring to?
There are a couple of possible interpretations for this text. It is even pointed out by one commentator that the word “a” should not be before the word “sin;” meaning that there is not one sin that leads to death. So, what does the verse mean?
William Barclay, in his “Daily Study Bible” commentary on this text believes that the verse refers to someone who has committed the same sin repeatedly that they get to a point that they do not experience the conviction of the Holy Spirit when they sin. The idea is that someone sins… does something they shouldn’t do. Then, they do it again… and again… and again.
Until they get to a point that they do not feel remorse over their sin. When they get to that point, that sin leads to death because they are not experiencing conviction which could lead them to forgiveness.
What does this mean to us? There may be something that you have done that the Holy Spirit convicted you of. You sensed the conviction… but you didn’t stop committing the sin… and it gradually became easier and easier to commit the sin until, you felt no conviction at all.
You may know someone like this. If so, you obviously need to pray for them and maybe even talk with them. But, it may be that we… you and I… are experiencing this. We started doing something some time back and at first, it bothered us but it bothers us less each time we do it. That sin we are committing is leading us to death unless we confess it and ask forgiveness.
I encourage you, if God’s spirit is convicting you some of something, you need to confess your sin and ask the Spirit to help you with it before it’s too late.
Love is the hallmark of the Christian faith. It all started with Jesus, the founder of our faith, loving this world so much that He gave His only begotten Son. Jesus told His disciples, “The world will know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
In I John 4:18, the Bible says that “perfect love cast out fear.” The word that is translated “perfect” can mean “complete.” So, the text literally says “complete love” cast out fear.
What does this mean? Let’s examine it by considering the day we will stand before Christ. One day, every believer will stand before the Lord. At that time, our lives will be judged. While we lived, did we love others? Did we serve? If during our lives, we loved others and helped others, we will not be anxious about the time when we stand before the Lord because we have lived for Christ. And, we are not anxious because love reached it’s completeness in us by leading us to love others. In that case, as the text says, “Perfect (complete) love cast out fear.”
Is your love complete? Do you love others? Do you try to help others? We are at the beginning of the Christmas season. It is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is about others. Jesus left heaven and came to earth as an expression of His love for others.
“Yes, others, Lord, yes, others,
Let this my motto be;
Help me to live for others,
Help me to live for others,
That I may live like Thee,
That I may live like Thee.”
Does a Christian continue to sin after conversion?
The answer to that question is “Yes.” We do continue to sin.
And why do we continue to sin? Because we are human and we live in a world of sin. We don’t reach a state where we don’t sin until we get to heaven.
So, even though we sin, we are still saved.
But, in I John 3:6, the Bible says, “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen or knows him.” This verse is talking about someone who sins habitually. Someone who sins and isn’t bothered by it.
For example; As Christians, when we sin, it should bother us. If it does, that’s an indication of the Holy Spirit within us, convicting us. But, John is saying if we continue to sin… he’s talking about a habit of sin… then we don’t know God. He’s describing someone who sins and honestly, maybe even enjoys their sin… and if someone says anything to them they may respond, “Hey, even though I’m a Christian, I’m not perfect.”
Sin should bother us. We shouldn’t dismiss it or try to explain it away. It should bother us. If it doesn’t bother us, that’s a problem.
So how do we deal with temptation? What do we need to do to defeat sin and the devil? John says, “Abide in Him.” The word means “to dwell…” It refers to someone who, on a daily basis, tries to live for the Lord. Someone who tries to honor the Lord. We abide in Him.
It means that we read God’s word on a daily basis. We spend time in prayer. It means that every day our desire is to honor the Lord in our lives. And, if we abide in Him, that will help prevent us from a lifestyle of sin.
Is there some sin in your life that could be described as “habitual?” You do it often and maybe it doesn’t bother you? If so, that’s something you need to take to the Lord. While we are human and we will most definitely sin, it should bother us when we do.
Today, maybe there is some habitual sin in your life. Confess it to the Father and experience His forgiveness.