Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolution For Revelation

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

For years, people have asked me the age-old question. "What is your New Year's resolution?" I stop and think; will I treat my body better by eating healthier and adopt an exercise program to go along with it? Making a commitment of that nature involves real dedication. It would be better for me to find something easy, something I will not abandon after the first couple of months. Since I like to write, I could make a vow to write so many hours a week. I know I would be able to stick to that.

If I look at commitment from God's point of view, I realize He takes a vow seriously. What if He did not make good on His promises? This world would be in a heap of trouble. All throughout the Bible God shows His plan for the redemption of man. He does not have second thoughts. If God said it, you can believe it. When the prophets gave a message from God, the people knew it was going to happen. His prophecies are still coming true.

This year my resolution will be to seek God's Word and receive His revelation knowledge. He will help me with my bad habits as I strive to be more like Jesus. When I fall, I can repent. Forgiveness is God's promise to me.

Father, help me to continually seek the revelation knowledge of your Word. Assist me in making the changes in my life that will enable me to serve You better. In Jesus Name

©2009 Marcella Panowicz

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Death

Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting? I Corinthians 15:55 (NIV)

The nurse entered the intensive care waiting room; her face was downcast as she approached, “I’m sorry. She’s gone.” That was at 3:00 a.m., December 26.

The call came on Christmas Eve. Mom had been rushed to the hospital, and I should hurry home. My husband and I quickly packed our luggage and drove five hours through the early Christmas morning. I never saw her conscious.

Every Christmas since, I felt sadness. I tried to act joyful, but with each passing year, the gloom returned. Everyone looked happier than I. One Christmas I heard a radio minister say, “Rejoice that your loved one passed away during this joyous season. At the same time the churches are bursting with strains of "The Messiah" and angels are praising God, their spirit is ascending into heaven."

That message blessed me. Mom loved Jesus and the Christmas season. She decorated everything she could and baked many varieties of cookies.

Today as I bake all the goodies from Mom’s recipes, I thank God I had a loving mother and rejoice that Jesus is our Savior. Because of Jesus, I will see her again.

Dear Jesus, Thank You that death only separates us from our loved ones temporarily. Please renew the right spirit in us and help us to trust You and Your eternal plans. Amen.

©2009 Lois Gosley

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Living Church

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

Learning from children happens while teaching them. A fifth grade Sunday school class memorized this verse. After playing a game of memory, they accepted the challenge to reiterate the verse without looking at the words on the board. Four of the class members said it perfectly. Then the teacher asked if anyone else would like to recite the verse.

One of the children, Heather, had acquired brain damage from a serious illness when she was six years old. She continued to be a fellow class member with the children that she has known over the years. Up went her hand so she could say the verse. The other students noticed, and the room became very quiet. “Heather, would you like to say the verse?” asked the teacher.

Heather looked at the board and slowly began to read the words. “F..or……a…bo..rn,” she read, in this manner all the way to the end. The 24 other students in the room became so quiet you could hear a pin drop. When Heather finished reading, all the students loudly clapped their hands for her. On that day, the teacher experienced the living church from the children.

Dear Lord, You teach us Your way; You let us experience Your way; and You lead us to precious You. Amen

© Mary Burkey 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Jesus - Not Santa

Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10 (NIV)

“Here Comes Santa Claus” is a song symbolizing the fact that a sacred holiday has been twisted into a business venture. Because merchants count on large income from holiday sales, some stores begin displaying Christmas merchandise in October. After all, it is the most lucrative shopping season of the year.

Only when people look away from the commercialization of Christmas, can it become apparent that this is a time like no other. Feelings of good cheer and goodwill abound on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Even among those lacking an understanding of the significance of the celebration, warm wishes and a spirit of the brotherhood of mankind can be observed.

Some repeat the slogan, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” And, He is. Piles of gifts and holiday parties cannot mask the true reason we celebrate. Such a divine purpose surpasses the presumption and arrogance of our meager attempts at human intervention.

The true significance of Christmas is that it is the day set aside to remember that the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the World, humbled himself out of love to come among us as a helpless baby. The shadow of the redemptive cross of Calvary falls over a manger.

Manmade commercialization cannot overcome the power of that fact.

Father God, thank You for the immeasurable gift you gave when You sent Your Son to us. Knowing we would torture and kill Him, You sent Him anyway—as a vulnerable infant. What indescribable love. Help us to understand that concept and to drink in the spirit of Your love this Christmas.

© Christena Struben 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Meaning of Love

Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. John 21:15 (KJV)

Christmas words sing in the air revealing an elusive, yet enduring hope in God. Songs of shepherds, angels, wise men and Mary beckon us to discard gold, myrrh and frankincense as values for a good life. Instead the star guides us in discovering other treasures.

Hidden in the meanings of the words are the dreams, thoughts, and concepts of God’s love for us, our love for Him. The carols tell us, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Searching, we learn that Greek had more words to explain what love is than English does. Phileo - brotherly love, eros - physical love, agape - divine, unconditional love.

When Jesus asked Peter, the disciple, “Do you love me?” the first two times, he used agape, but after Peter answered with phileo, Jesus switched his question to phileo. Both knew that Peter, not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, was unable to love unconditionally.

How can we answer Agape? Gratefully, we know that without the Lord’s help, it will always be Phileo, but with His agape love and mercy, we are blessed and become able to answer using “agape.” Because of His agape love, we get past personal feelings of anger, of like or dislike, put the Lord first and obey His commandment to “Love one another.” That's the treasure of Christmas, the reason why our hearts sing. God sent peace, goodwill and love. God sent His Word at Christmas.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for your continuous help in changing from phileo to agape love. Help us to stay changed. Amen.

© 2009 V. Colclasure