Friday, December 21, 2012

Faith in an Age of Fear (Prince of Peace)

There are no shortage of things to be scared or 'freaked out' about in our world.

Mayan calendars, weather emergencies, economic collapse, school violence...the list could go on and on!

Obviously, some on that list have more legitimacy than others, but with 24/7 news cycles, each and every one of them gets blown out of proportion, to the point that the story about the fear becomes The Story! 

In other words, we stop looking at the actual 'threat' and what to do about it and start focusing on the 'fear' itself. This cycle continues until classes are cancelled, businesses are closed, etc.--all because of the fear!

I remember, for example, when we lived near Philadelphia that several businesses and schools would close because of the forecast of 2 inches of snow! It consumed the news coverage, thus causing more schools and businesses to follow suit, which attracted more attention and 'news' coverage, and so on...

Today, we're faced with a similar scenario.

The Mayan calendar supposedly stopped today, and so there was a lot of attention given to the 'prediction' that the world would end today.

That was ridiculous, of course. My 2012 calendar ends in exactly 9 days...does that mean that the world will end then? Of course not! By the grace of God and within His plan, January 1, 2013 will come after that, and off we'll go into a new year. 

Other people are fearful of school and community violence today. Several school districts in our area cancelled classes--some because of "heightened sensitivity and concern", others because they had received actual threats. (In most cases, it was a rumor of a threat, not an actual threat.)

Now, I know that our school Superintendents are in a 'no win' situation. If they do not cancel, and something really does happen, they will be blamed because they could have avoided it. If they do cancel, they will be blamed for giving into irrational fear. I get it. 

However, I would simply like to suggest the we all push back from the table, turn off the constant 'news' coverage, and 'chillax' a bit! 

We simply cannot live in fear! We cannot be ruled by anxiety over 'what might happen'--today or any other day!

But how are we to counteract this constant drumbeat of fear? How are we to rise above it?


Because we know that God is in control, and because we know that He has a plan--for our world, and for our individual lives--we can rest and have peace, even when the world around us freaks out!

Philippians 4 says this: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

When we remind ourselves that God is watching over us, that He has our lives in His hands, that He knows the Eternal plan--and is working it out, we can rest and have peace...a "Peace that passes understanding". 

Remember the Romans 8: Because of His love for us, and because nothing can stop that love, and because we know that He's causing everything to 'work together for our good' as those who love and follow Him, we can have peace. 

"If God is for us, who can ever be against us?...Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?... No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-39)

To paraphrase, 'Neither Mayan calendars, nor doomsday scenarios, neither threats of violence nor forecasts for weather disasters...NOTHING can separate us from the love of God!

Today, my prayer for you is that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will reign in your hearts and minds...that the stuff that causes fear in so many will simply remind you, as a Christ follower, to pray and rest. That the Peace of God will 'guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus', and that you can rise above the noise and voices of this world which would foment fear, and walk into your day--today and every day--with confidence. 



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Come, Adore on Bended Knee...

What an amazing experience it must have been!

Shepherds, out in the fields around Bethlehem, in the pitch blackness of night, when suddenly an Angel in brilliant white appears to them in the sky!

The scripture says that they were "terrified", or (my favorite version) "sore afraid".

What an amazing, incredible experience that must have been!
What was their reaction?

Did they say 'wow, that was cool', and go back to watching their sheep?

Of course not!

They said “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15)

They HAD TO check it out!

And when they did, what did they find?

"They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger." (v. 16)

It was just as the angels had said!

Their reaction was the only reasonable one, given what they'd seen and heard: 

"After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,...The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them." (vv. 17-20)

The shepherds continued to praise God for what had been done! 

This baby was THE Hope for "peace on earth, good will to those on whom His favor rests"!

As one of my favorite Christmas carols puts it, 

"Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your glorious strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be, which inspire your heavenly song?"

They were changed! They were praising God!

Our response should be similar:

"Come to Bethlehem and see Him who's birth the angels sing;
 Come--adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn king!"

Let us "adore" Him 'on bended knee'. 
Let us humble ourselves before the Lord of the nations.
Let us worship Him with our lives--this Christmas, and always!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Faith in the Face of Evil, conclusion (with POWERFUL video)

So, What are we to DO with all of this stuff?

We hear wall to wall coverage of events in Connecticut, we hear of other similar crimes which were stopped before they could be carried out, and we think 'what next'!

How are we supposed to go on with life as usual, and have a 'Merry Christmas'  in the midst of a fallen, evil world in which we can't really KNOW with certainty that it won't happen again, or even closer to home?

I would like to respectfulully suggest thawt there are 3 keys to victory over this evil.

Faith, Relationships, and Peace.

Faith in God, and His ability to be sovereign over the events of this world, and even to turn bad things into good, by using them for his eternal purpose.

As Romans 8:28 says, "..God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called to His eternal purpose."  

That doesn't mean that this was not terrible, that it doesn't grieve the heart of God and that it shouldn't grieve just means that God specializes in turning our 'junk' into His raw material for good. What satan means for evil God can use for eternal good. (For more on this point, please see yesterday's blog.)

Relationships. Often, the people who commit ,these acts are isolated 'loners', for a bunch of reasons.  

One of the reasons they tend to lash out is that they feel anger or hurt because of this. One way we can begin to lessen the probability of this is to reach out in love, like Jesus did...even to the unlovable.

At the same time, the way to overcome our fears and grief is to focus on the relationships we have--family and friends, especially. Refocusing on those relationships, especially at Christmas, is crucial.

Finally, seek peace. Do what you can to heal relationships and forgive when there's hurt and pain. Paul wrote that we should "Be kind and compassionate with one another, tenderhearted; forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)

Remember what Christmas was all about. Jesus came to earth to establish peace between God and mankind. The angels words call out 
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)

God's glory is achieved by bringing 'peace' on earth. 

It STARTS with Peace with God. That is what Jesus came to accomplish, and that is really where this peace begins and ends--Peace on earth "to those on whom his favor rests". 

Who does His favor 'rest' on?  It's available to all, but only effective for those who have given their lives to Jesus, in faith, and who are letting Him have increasing reign over their lives. 

The old Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells" says "there is no peace on earth, I said, for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men. But the bells keep ringing."

The last verse is a powerful reminder of hope:

"Then echoed there more loud and deep, 
God is not dead, nor does He sleep; 
the wrong shall fail, the right prevail
with peace on earth, good will to men."

This Christmas, don't let the darkness get you.
Don't let the evil make you forget.

God HAS come to earth in Jesus...
He DOES extend 'peace on earth, good will to men'...
IF we trust in Him.
IF we let Him into our lives.
IF we trust Him go give us victory over this fallen world...

THEN we can rest in His hand, and have real PEACE on Earth!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Faith in the Face of Evil, Part 2 (video)

We all heard the news. A terrible, disturbing story of a massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. 26 children and adults were murdered in all. A 20 year old son of one of the adults was the murderer. In the midst of an idyllic town with Christmas decorations everywhere, suddenly evil had reared its ugly head. The gut-wrenching details emerged, and the country began to grieve for the townspeople. 

Almost immediately debate began centering on questions like "How can this happen there?" and "Who's responsible?". While those and other questions may be unanswerable, or at least will take time and discussion to answer, a deeper set of questions arises for the believer.

How can we have FAITH in the midst of this EVIL?

We believe in a loving, powerful, wise and good God. 
So, why does He allow this?

Again, this answer is much deeper than can be handled in a 'blog', but suffice it to say that I believe that God IS all of those things, but that He created a world in which free will is key, and we have the choice to submit our lives to Him...or not.

Obviously, many in this world do not.

Obviously, the shooter did not.

Unfortunately, we live in a world which is under the influence of the Evil One (see Part 1 of this blog), and that means that evil will happen.

So, what are we to do? Are we to become fearful and paranoid, attempting to avoid all public places? 
No. Pain, tragedy and even evil will find us, no matter how much we try to protect ourselves from it.

So, what is our choice?

I believe our best choice is to commit ourselves to the Lord, to commit family (including our children) to Him,  our entrust every relationship we have to Him. He has the best plans for us--plans for today, and plans for eternity! 

If I can trust Him with my everyday life...and the time of my death...then in one sense it doesn't matter the circumstances I face. It doesn't matter whether it's an unusual tragedy, or 'natural causes'. What matters is the God is there at the day of my death, just as He was at the day of my beginning. 

As the Psalmist wrote, 

"You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." (Psalm 139:16)

And, since I know He loves me and His plan for me is perfect, I need not fear the worst circumstances. 

As the saying goes, "I have no fear of what the future holds, for I know Who holds the future." 

In the midst of a world rocked with sin and evil, may we turn to the Lord who overcomes both.
In a world of pain and tragedy, may we find comfort in the knowledge that there is beauty and love also.
In the face of evil, may we have faith strong enough to take away fear.

...and may we LIVE with that faith giving us victory every day.

"What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?...

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.)”  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-39)

REST in that love today!

Faith in the face of evil--Part 1 (video)

Well, we're reminded again today...there is evil in this world. Real, breathtaking and deep evil. It manifests itself in many ways--most relatively small. 

Once in a while, though, it rips our world apart, like we saw today in Connecticut. A 20 year old man apparently killed his mother then drove to the school she worked at and killed Staff, teachers, and at least 20 children--mostly her students! 


I thought a lot today about 'that call'...what if I got 'that call' that said there was a shooting at the school Lori works at and Emily attends, and that staff and kids were killed. What if I found that CHS, right next to our church where a couple of my girls attend, was the scene of this kind of crime...what would I do?

How are we supposed to put this together in our heads?
How are we supposed to process this?

Certainly there are conversations all over the nation tonight about 'security', guns, mental illness, vulnerability.

But where does it all end? Is there some...'thing' we can learn and move on?
Is there some great "Aha!" moment that will 'click', so that it makes sense, we learn a lesson, them go on about everyday life?

No. Not if we mean that this 'lesson' will cause this evil and tragedy to make 'sense'.

But, if we can keep this evil (and many other forms) in their proper context, then maybe we can learn something and move on--not impervious or unaffected, but at least resilient and optimistic.

If we are going to do so, here's one thing we have to learn and settle in our minds:

Evil--unadulterated evil--exists in this world.

Evil...and "the Evil one" in particular, wants to wreck everything good in this world. 

As Jesus said "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy..." (John 10:10). Jesus prayed, in fact, that His followers would be protected from "the evil one" (John 17:15), and Paul asked the Thessalonians to " Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one." (2 Thessalonians 3:2-3)

He shows himself and his influence in many ways...sometimes by inspiring evil in the life of a person, who then goes and does some evil act.(Note: I am not saying that person is a 'satanist', but that they are under the influence of the evil one--even if they are unaware of it.)

We all have that capability within ourselves, but (by the grace of God), some of us have been changed at the core of our being. For them, this 'evil' is no longer a driving force (although we can still give in to it, and sin). 

As Paul wrote, "Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else...

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (Ephesians 2:1-10)

GOD is the One who changes us--from selfish, evil people into God-honoring, self-sacrificing people, through Jesus.

How do we live this out, in the midst of a crooked and messed up world?

Tune in next time for Part 2!

For now, remember: We CAN Praise Him in the storm!

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Where are you, Christmas?" (With video)

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes, as much as I know better, I 'lose' the spirit of Christmas.

As much as I know better, I get my focus OFF of God, His Son, and the whole Biblical narrative.
As much as I know better, I let the stresses of trying to 'get everything done' make me cranky.
As much as I know better, I let financial pressures and decisions leave a hole in my heart at Christmas.
As much as I know better, I find myself asking "Where are you, Christmas? Why can't I find you?"

Can you relate?

I mean, I KNOW the truth: Christmas is about "Emmanuel"--God is WITH us! 

I know the prophecies: "Behold, a virgin will be with child, and give birth to a son, and he shall be called 'Immanuel', which means "God with us"." (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23) 

I know that the angel Gabriel appeared and told Mary that SHE was the one through whom these things would happen (see Luke 2). I know that he also appeared to Joseph and told him that "the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

He has come in the form of that baby in the manger. He didn't stay a baby, but rather grew, taught, showed Himself to be 'God in human form', and went to the cross to pay for our sins and to give us eternal LIFE--all by God's grace, through faith in Jesus.

So, how can I miss that?

How can I let myself get off track? How can I find myself wondering "Where are you, Christmas"?

I guess it really is all about perspective. All about mindset and focus.

If I focus on the here and now stuff, I will get distracted and end up discouraged. I will fail to see what 'is', because all I'm thinking about is what 'isn't'. 

And I refuse to do that.

Instead, I will choose to do these things:

I WILL worship the Lord--the reason for the season.
I WILL enjoy my family times--and not let money, etc. rob me of them.
I WILL bring myself and my family back to the story--the Biblical story of God loving us enough to become a human being, knowing that it would mean our place!
I WILL focus on the joy of loving others and giving to them what I can--material in some ways, but also giving myself and giving my faith to them too!
I WILL focus on love.

Will you join me?

Let's REFUSE to let the distractions, the stresses and the difficulties sidetrack us from expressing love--for God, for family, for others. 

Let's rediscover Christmas!

"Christmas is here, everywhere you go; Christmas is here if you care, oh!
If there is love in your heart and your mind, you will feel that Christmas all the time. 
I feel you, Christmas! I know I've found you, you'll never fade away!

The joy of Christmas stays here inside us, fills each and every heart with love."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Glory To God!--with Video

I like to picture it in my mind...(have since I was a child): Shepherds out in the field on the countryside, in the dark. Isolated. No streetlights, no 'spillover' lights from neighborhood malls. Just dark.

Suddenly, the night sky lights up with an ANGEL! 

The angel is saying to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

The shepherds are shocked! They're stricken with fear at first because of this amazing appearance! (Wouldn't we be too? After all, how many times has your nighttime been interrupted by an angel's appearance, glimmering in white?)

The Angel has good news for them, though: This appearance isn't to bring news of their doom or judgement, but of God's RESCUE! God was intervening in human history on THAT VERY NIGHT--and He sent the angel to announce them!

"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (v.14)

Now this 'herald angel' is joined by a whole crowd of them, and they're all saying the same thing: Glory to God!

Praise God!
God deserves Praise!
He is in Heaven, and Reigns over all!
He is the ONLY one who deserves praise!

"Gloria in Excelsis Deo" means "Glory to God in the Highest", and that's the praise that the Angels were bringing.

Jesus' birth resulted in praise of God.

Hmm...Jesus' birth resulted in praise of God...

The Shepherds' reaction?

"When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (v. 15)

'We gotta check this out! If this is true...WOW!'

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." (vv.16-20)

Sure enough, it was TRUE!

Exactly the the angel had said!

The shepherds worshiped the Lord that night...and then they spread the news. 

They couldn't help but do so...after all, they'd heard that GOD had sent a SAVIOR into the world, in the form of a baby! 


The shepherds...normally somewhat reclusive, normally somewhat outcasts who kept pretty much to themselves, became bold spokesmen for God!

After what they had experienced--an intervention of God in history--they couldn't pretend things were the way they had been.

They had to tell everyone!

Jesus birth resulted in praise to God...and spreading the news to others.

Maybe it should do the same for us!

Friday, December 7, 2012

He Came! (With Video)

"O Come, O Come Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, o Israel."

One of my favorite Christmas Carols.

I get the feeling that the people of Israel were saying something like this in their prayers throughout their history.

They were longing for the day when that promise would come...Their Savior would come!

In the meantime, they ached. They mourned. They prayed and waited.

"O come, thou dayspring,
Come and cheer our spirits by thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and deaths dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, o Israel."

The hope that they were looking for--the promise that "deaths dark shadows" would be "put to flight" is the hope that WE NOW UNDERSTAND!

That hope was met in the person of Jesus Christ, the God-man.

Isaiah 7:14: "The Virgin shall conceive and give birth to a child, and shall call him "Emmanuel", which means "God with us"

Jesus was God (in Hebrew, "El") with us (in Hebrew "Emman"). He was one of us...from the moment of conception to the moment of His death on the cross He was human...and He came to give the people of Israel...and us...HOPE!

He came to "cheer our spirits by his advent (his coming)".

Remember--the people of Israel could do nothing but look forward, mourn their current reality, and hope for the day when He would come.

WE can celebrate the fact that He CAME!

May He come into your heart even more this Christmas.

May He 'disperse the clouds" in your life, and and give you hope and cheer!

Celebrate God with Us this Christmas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mary's Labor of Love (with video)

Quick: What color was Mary's shawl? What color was her dress?

Personally, I've always pictured her in blue...why? I have no idea! 

Maybe the first time I ever saw here depicted in a book she was dressed in blue...or the first time I saw her portrayed in a movie she was dressed in blue.

It's actually quite likely that she was NOT dressed in blue--that would have been a very impractical and artificial (and therefore expensive) color of cloth in her day.

But the assumption I have is based on something that is not actually 'in' the Christmas story. 

There are many things like that. Much folklore has arisen about Mary, Joseph and 'Baby Jesus'. 

Make no mistake: This was very REAL!

There was real trouble, real difficulty, real pain of childbirth, and (I can only assume) real fear and angst about what the future held for this young family, starting out with the most non-traditional beginning in HISTORY!

Yet Mary, the earthly mother of the Lord...The Vessel which God used to bring His son to earth...was very willing to go through this!

She knew that history would look back on her and call her blessed. 

"Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47     How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
    and he has done great things for me." (Luke 1:46-49)

Mary's faith, however, should not distract us from the very 'real' predicament they were in. 

There was the very real problem that there was 'No room' for them anywhere in Bethlehem when they finally arrived (after a very real 80 mile ride on a donkey, while NINE MONTHS PREGNANT!). 

Was there panic? Was there fear?

We don't know. We can only assume.

"And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them." (Luke 2:6-7)

We don't know exactly what Mary and Joseph were going through, emotionally and spiritually that night. We do know what she was going through, physically, and it was very...real. 

Mary was in real labor, and she was practically alone in doing so. Joseph was trying to help her, but he was a carpenter, not a midwife! 

It was probably a messy, difficult situation...Jesus, contrary to the song, probably did cry. 

...but it was a Labor of Love

This Christmas, as you make room in your schedule to 'worship Christ, the newborn King', make sure that you don't let the folklore of Christmas take away the reality of it. Worship Him, for real this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Deliver Us!

Deliver Us!

This is the cry that the people of Israel cried out for centuries, as they were captives in Egypt.

Despite all of the promises of their blessing, they had become slaves, and captives. Chained, controlled, threatened and punished. No freedom, and little hope of change...except for their God, YHWH (Yahweh) who had promised their patriarch, Abraham  that "all the nations of the Earth shall be blessed through you" (Genesis 22:18).

They knew a better day was they were just crying out for Deliverance!

Today, thankfully, we don't have that kind of slavery (at least, not in our part of the world).

...but we still need deliverance.

We still have shackles, and we are slaves--to our sinful nature.

As much as we try to resist the idea, our sinful nature trips us up all the time. We are stuck in sin, separated from God. We don't want to sin, but we still do. We are powerless to change it on our own.

"The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[d] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway." (Romans 7:14-19)

Were it not for Jesus Christ, we would remain there, stuck in slavery to sin.

'Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:24-25)

The GREAT NEWS is that Jesus came--born on that first Christmas--to deliver us from our slavery to sin!

He gives us new life--IF we will open up to Him and receive Him!

Yet, sometimes we choose to remain in slavery. We choose the 'freedom' to sin rather than obedience. We tell ourselves it is freedom, when really we're simply choosing to remain shackled.

We need Him to Deliver us! To apply the work of Christ to our lives!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room! (With great video!)

Merry, Blessed Christmas!

The hustle and bustle of the season is in full swing (although I know some sick people who are already done with their shopping!). We are hearing Christmas music everywhere we go now, Decorations and lights are up all around the neighborhood, children have made out their Christmas Lists...

Have we made room for Jesus?

As that famous Christmas Carol says, "JOY to the World--the Lord has come! Let Earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing..."

His coming to earth presents us with the opportunity for real JOY--a deep, abiding sense of well-being based on His presence in our lives. Better than 'happiness', which can be fleeting. Deeper than 'contentment', which can be mere surrender to 'the fates'. JOY comes from knowing JESUS, and knowing that HE is alive, and HE is IN MY LIFE, working His will! Knowing that He has changed me forever! Real JOY is WORSHIP--focusing my life on glorifying Him!

This Christmas season, do you want JOY in your life?

If so, focus on Jesus.

Prepare Him room in your heart, and in your schedule!