Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve 2019

This Christmas 2019, and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas!  God is so amazing, and I am so grateful that He sent Jesus to us for our salvation.

As I sit and look at my Christmas tree I look at the stars and realize for the first time that they represent the Star of Bethlehem.  I have never thought about why we put stars on our trees before.  As I sit here this morning I have been thinking about how faithful the Three Wise Men were to follow the star.  Would we be that faithful?  Would we just get up and leave everything to follow a star, because we knew at the end of the trip we would find a king?  I started writing this post several years ago, but was not sure what God wanted in this post.  I have been waiting for Him to talk to me and lead me in the direction that He wanted.  I have needed to be patient, because I want to follow His lead, because that is what the Magi did, they followed His lead. Sometimes, we have to be really patient, because it has taken two years for this post to be finished. This was the right time for it to be published, His time.

When I was at church, one of my Pastors, Pastor Mills, spoke about the Three Wise Men.  He told us that they had been astrologers, which I had never realized before.  We do not know a lot about them, but we do know that they were not Jewish.  Yet, they saw a star that moved across the sky and they knew that they would find a king at the end of their trip.

1. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 
2. saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4. And he gathered all of the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where Christ was to be born.
5. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is is written by the prophet:
6. 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.'
7. Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.
8. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
9. When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.
10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
11. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and feel down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12. Then being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

Matthew 2:1-12

I want to act with that kind of faith in God. The kind of faith that makes me drop everything in my life to follow Him because He sent a Savior for me.

My prayer this Christmas Eve for for all of us, you and me, is that we have that same faith, the kind of faith that makes us drop everything and follow Christ. That we also have the faith of the Magi.

Merry Christmas and God bless all of you!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Joy is a Gift

Joy is a gift from God. It is one of the gifts that we receive when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV

We are also told to count it all joy in James 1.

Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of you faith (through experience) produces endurance (leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace.)  And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed (in your faith), lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom (to guide him through a decision or circumstance), he is to ask of (our benevolent) God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask (for wisdom) in faith, without doubting (God's willingness to help), for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind.  For such a person ought not think or expect that he will receive anything (at all from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways (in everything he thinks, feels, or decides).
James 1:2-8 AMP

I don't know about you, but sometimes I have a hard time with this one.  I have faith and I know that God had got all of my problems taken care of even before I ask, but when I don't see results right away, or maybe it even takes a year or two, I feel like it may never happen.  I still need to count it all joy, consider it nothing but joy, because this testing of my faith will lead to a spiritual maturity that I now lack.  Isn't that one of the things we are striving for in our walk with God and our faith is spiritual maturity and inner peace.

One of the reasons that I have not written much over that last year and a half is that I fell and crushed my left ankle.  It has been a true struggle.  When I broke it, I sang the song Way Maker by Sinach over and over quietly as they took me to each surgery, every test, and even in a hyperbaric chamber.  God is so good.  He placed me in the hands of an amazing trauma surgeon who was able to piece me back together,  I lost the feeling from above my ankle down.  I have neuropathy in my foot that is being taken care of pain treatment specialist,  He diagnosed me with something called Sympathetic Nerve Syndrome, which basically means that the nerves and blood vessels in my ankle and foot are confused and sending pain signals to my brain. In the meantime, I know that this struggle will result in a spiritual maturity that I did not have before.  So I am counting it all joy.  I know it sounds strange, but God is using this for something to benefit me in the end.  To bring me closer to Him, and also to benefit His Kingdom.

So as you move through life and you are dealing with difficult things in your life, remember to consider it all joy.  He doesn't promise us a tribulation free life, but He has the strength to help us move through these tough times.

Have a blessed week