This is for EVERYONE tonight!
The great passion and extravagant love Jesus had, drove Him straight to the cross to face death. Think about that. He not only spo…ke about love, He followed it with action. People called Him crazy, God called Him perfect, now we call Him Savior. Having outstanding passion and love for God and others will at some point, put you in the position of being persecuted and misunderstood, BUT…take heart. God loves nothing more than a humble and obedient spirit, ready and willing, AT ANY COST, to carry out His will. Did you catch that? Yes, I said AT – ANY – COST. See, that’s where the dividing line is drawn. That’s the “cross-road” many reach and decide this isn’t what they signed up for. The Cross IS the “cross-road”. It provokes a decision without compromise. It offers you “hot or cold” but never lukewarm.
Yet here’s the amazing thing: Never will you hear God tell you at the end of your life that you loved Him too much, or that you were “too obsessed” with His heart…you were too obsessed in spending time with Him. So you know what that tells me? GO ALL OUT! Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I say, it’s better to be known as the “radical one” who loved Jesus “too much” rather than someone whom never professed their love at all.
Philippians 1:20 – As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with all boldness now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
Nearly all Americans (93%) celebrate Christmas. Only an extremely tiny minority would object to the greeting, “Merry Christmas,” a cherry greeting roughly equivalent to, “I love you,” Yet, political correctness, championed by the liberal/progressive movement, has effectively eliminated the Merry Christmas greeting from public life as well as nativity scenes and other symbols of Christmas. In contrast, consider what three nationally-known Jewish leaders have to say about Christmas celebrations:
Burt Prelutsky, a Jewish columnist for a number of national publications, declares:
I never thought I’d live to see the day that Christmas would become a dirty word. . . . How is it, one well might ask, that in a Christian nation this is happening? . . . Speaking as a member of a minority group – and one of the smaller ones at that – I say it behooves those of us who don’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior to show some gratitude to those who do, and to start respecting the values and traditions of the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens, just as we keep insisting that they respect ours. Merry Christmas, my friends!
Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Daniel Lapin agrees:
Secular fundamentalism has successfully injected into American culture the notion that the word “Christmas” is deeply offensive. . . . Anti-Christianism is unhealthy for all Americans; but I warn my brethren that it will prove particularly destructive for Jews. . . . Let us all go out of our way to wish our many wonderful Christian friends – a very merry Christmas. Just remember, America’s Bible belt is our safety belt.
Orthodox Jewish radio host and creator of PragerUniversity.com Dennis Prager writes:
As a Jew, and a religious one at that, I want to wish my fellow Americans a Merry Christmas. Not “Happy Holidays.” Merry Christmas…
It doesn’t matter with which religion or ethnic group you identify; Christmas in America is as American as the proverbial apple pie. That is why some of the most famous and beloved Christmas songs were written by guess who? Jews.
- White Christmas—Irving Berlin
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer—Johnny Marks
- Let It Snow! Let It snow! Let It Snow!—July Styne/Sammy Cahn
- Silver Bells—Jay Livingston/Ray Evans
- The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an Open Fire—Mel Torme/Robert Wells
- Sleigh ride-–Mitchell Parish
and many others.
The notion that non-Christians are excluded is absurd.
It never occurred to my Orthodox Jewish family not to enjoy this season. It was a tradition in our home to watch the Christmas Mass from the Vatican every Christmas Eve…Had you visited our home, you would have seen my mother—and my father, my brother and I all wearing our kippot (Jewish skull-caps)—watching Catholics celebrate Christmas…
So when and why did this pernicious nonsense of non-Christians being “excluded” by public celebration of Christmas develop?
It is nothing more than another destructive product of the 1960s and 1970s, when the left came to dominate much of the culture.
There you have it! Say “Merry Christmas” everywhere; say it again and again and again. Say Merry Christmas with love every time. Saying it mechanically, without love betrays the greeting and the Lord.
So—Spread the Deliberate Joy; spread the merriment. After all, love is contagious. And—don’t forget the reason for the season!
Blogging YOU the warmest and merriest Christmas ever!
The first two quotes were abstracted from http://www.wallbuilders.com. The third quote is from wnd.com magazine, Whistleblower, “Of Messiahs False and True,” December 2014.
Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity. To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”
At this time of year, there is no shortage of people proclaiming skepticism or even scoffing at the idea of the virgin birth of Jesus. It was necessary, because the virgin birth was the only way Jesus could live a sinless life free of the sinful nature of pride that is the root of all sins. Nevertheless, the scoffers abound. They seem to catch media attention more often than believers.
The birth of Jesus is one of at least three miracle births in Scripture. God did the “impossible” in the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Zachariah and Elizabeth, and Joseph and Mary—three highly improbable births.
The birth of a child to a virgin is a one-time miracle. Mary became pregnant when she was “overshadowed,” by the Holy Spirit of God [Luke 1:35]. Since she was a healthy young woman, the rest of the gestation and birth process proceeded normally. For the God who created the universe, the Earth we call home, and all the plant, animal, and human life that makes up our environment, enabling a virgin to give birth is no obstacle.
A child born to an old woman is an even greater miracle than the virgin birth. At the birth of Isaac, Abraham was 100-years old and Sarah was 90-years of age [Genesis 17:17]. Scripture also tells us that at the birth of John-the-Baptist, his father Zechariah was an “old man” and his mother, Elizabeth, is variously described—depending on the translation—as “old as well,” “advanced in years,” or “beyond child bearing years.” [Luke 1:18] Having never previously given birth, both Sarah and Elizabeth were described as “barren.” The combination of old age and barrenness reduces that chances of pregnancy to virtually zero, apart from the intervention of God.
The birth of a child to an old woman can be viewed as a long-term continuous miracle or long series of miracles. The conception itself is two miracles. The reproductive systems of both the father and mother must be miraculously restored to youthful vigor. The conception must overcome the lifetime of barrenness, which confirms the miracle of the actual conception.
The mother’s womb must be effectively resurrected from the deadening effects of old age to harbor the baby and enable the formation of the umbilical cord through which she feeds and nourishes the baby. Her hormonal system must be quickened to support a growing baby and all the necessary changes to allow her body to carry the baby for nine months and eventually give birth. Prior to the actual birth, the mother’s hormonal system and the flesh and muscles, required for birth, must be rejuvenated to enable them to perform harmoniously at the time of birth.
Prior to the birth, the mothers’ breasts, that have never before nursed a baby, must be restored to youthful vitality to function and feed the newborn baby for a prolonged period of time. Today, the supermarket shelves are stocked with an array of infant formulas and baby foods. No such products were available in ancient Israel. A baby’s survival largely depended upon milk from the mother. Few alternatives were available, except perhaps goat’s milk.
The births-in-old-age enjoyed by Abraham/Sarah and Zechariah/Elizabeth were 2 – 3 year long continuous miracles or two amazing series of miracles from conception until weaning. Compare those long series of miracles with the one-time miracle of conception that occurred within the virgin called, “Mary,” who gave birth to Jesus.
Quite simply, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26 NIV]
Of course the real miracle of Christmas is not just that a virgin gave birth. The greater miracle is that Mary gave birth to the Messiah who came to save mankind from the ravages and ultimate death penalty of sin.
Merry Christmas to All!
The opposite of love is not hate,
The opposite of art (beauty) is not ugliness,
The opposite of faith is not heresy,
it’s indifference. And
The opposite of life is not death, but
indifference between life and death.
Elie Wiesel-Romanian-born journalist-author and Holocaust survivor.
America is spiraling down into the abyss of chaos. The body of believers has been overcome and remains paralyzed by indifference—a case of terminal apathy, an astonishing lack of concern. Elie Wiesel’s profound observation should be flashing in neon from every lamppost, on the bumper of every car, crackling through hundreds of cable TV channels, and splashed in banners across cyberspace.
Years ago, Dr. Francis Schaeffer proclaimed that the American culture, including (or perhaps especially) the culture of Judeo-Christian believers, has devolved into the two impoverished values of “personal peace and affluence.” A typical believer, sucked into the backdraft of the secular drift away from God, lives a life message that essentially says, “Don’t bother me while I devote my life to accumulating more and more stuff!”
Such a view, displayed more by actions than words, displaces all the wonderful Biblical values that give life the richness and security that God intended. It is the direct result of the distorted, corrupt, and spiritually bankrupt objective of materialism, combined with physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual laziness. Rampant indifference deprives life of real love, beauty, faith, and the fullness of life.
Speaking recently at a Heritage Foundation panel in Washington, DC, Timothy Samuel Shah (Associate Director, Religious Freedom Project at Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs) pleaded, “Where are the spontaneous grassroots campaigns? I don’t see them. If one-tenth of one percent of Christians in America were really outraged and mobilized we would see political action across the board.” Although his remarks were directed toward the plight of severely persecuted Christians in the Middle East they could and should equally apply to any controversy that involves a culture-busting view contrary to God’s Word, e.g. abortion, same-sex “marriage,” dilution and redefinition of the family, removing all vestiges of Judeo-Christian tradition from public view and discourse, crucial end-of-life decisions and more.
As we near the end of 2015, what does God think of humanity, His greatest creation? What will YOU say on that day when you face God and He asks, “Why did you abandon My call to be the ‘salt of the earth, the light of the world, and my ambassador’ to join the army of the indifferent?” Indifference supports the enemy at God’s expense. Consider:
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” [2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV] “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” [Romans 2:1 & 3 ESV] “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” [James 4:4 ESV]
The power and inevitability of God’s judgment appears to be largely lost on the Judeo-Christian culture in 2015. But God does not leave us naked. We can and must understand at a soul-deep level that, “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” [Ephesians 6:12 ESV] When we clearly understand the spiritual nature of every battle, we can,
“…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the
belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the
breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the
shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the
helmet of salvation and the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Ephesians 6:13-17 KJV]
When we are fully prepared, we can respond to Isaiah’s question, “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” [Isaiah 58:7 NIV]
However, when the government interferes with our God-given mission, Peter and the other apostles proclaim, “We must obey God rather than men! [Acts 6:29 NIV] Jesus Himself said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” [Mark 12:17 KJV]
The sanctity of life, sanctity of marriage, and the sanctity of the God-designed family ALL belong to God, not to Caesar. Freedom comes from God not from the government as do all the freedoms enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. As God’s earthly representatives, we must be willing to take a stand!
What do YOU think? What are YOU personally willing to do with respect to even one of the issues raised in the preceding discussion?
What does it take to wake up the body of believers?
What does it take to wake up the clergy?
Most of us learned about Thanksgiving in school. You know the drill. In 1620, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean blue and experienced a devastatingly harsh winter along the Massachusetts coast. About half of them perished. Spring finally arrived and a friendly Indian named Squanto helped the Pilgrims learn how to obtain food by stomping eels out of the mud and fertilizing corn with dead fish. The following fall, they celebrated an abundant harvest with a feast that became known as the first Thanksgiving. But there is more, much more. The string of miracles is nearly endless:
- Many years before, the Separatists, later known as the Pilgrims, reached the breaking point of frustration and disappointment after enduring severe persecution by the Church of England. They “removed” to Leyden, Holland. After nearly a dozen years of severe adversity and personal toughening, it was time to leave. They came to believe the America was their “promised land.” They found their way back to England on the ship, Speedwell, prepared to join the Mayflower for the long difficult voyage to America. At Southhampton, their sponsors forcibly required them to accommodate 80 “strangers” who would later strain the best of interpersonal relationships. The Pilgrims numbers were reduced due to limited capacity on the ships. In July, 1620, they sailed west. In barely three days they had to return to England, because of structural problems with the masts on the Speedwell. Again, their numbers were reduced to stay within the carrying capacity of the Mayflower. God had sifted their numbers repeatedly. Only the hardiest of the hardy remained on the Mayflower for the epic journey.
- Crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Pilgrims endured “seven weeks of the hell of an ill-lighted, rolling, pitching, stinking inferno” as well as tormenting by the crew. All manner of sins were brought to the surface, confessed, and forgiven. By the time they reached land, they were a spiritually cleansed and extremely close-knit group. Adversity does that.
- Mid-way across the Atlantic, they experienced a life-threatening emergency. The immense cross-beam supporting the main mast was failing. They would likely be lost at sea. After intense prayer, William Brewster had a eureka moment. He recommended using the giant iron printing press screw to support the breaking beam. It worked! Even the skeptical sailors praised God along with the Pilgrims.
- Just before landing at Plymouth in Massachusetts, they realized they were under no legal jurisdiction. To maintain order, they wrote and everyone signed the Mayflower Compact. The miracle and genius of the document is that it included many of the same principles later embodied in our founding documents.
- Their landing site was protected by Cape Cod. The site was flat, cleared, and had four freshwater streams and even a cache of corn. How could that happen? The area was previously cleared and inhabited by the Patuxet Indians, one of the few tribes known to be extremely hostile. Years before the Pilgrims’ arrival, the tribe was wiped out by a plague. Other tribes avoided the area, fearing presence of evil spirits. It was a miracle site for the Pilgrims.
- They finally set foot on land in mid-November, 1620.The first winter was extremely harsh and food was scarce. In January, the thatched roof of the Common House caught fire, a life-threatening emergency, due to their utter dependence on that building. Adversity inspired even more prayer and bound them together even tighter. By Spring, they had lost about half their number. Still the mortality rate was not nearly as high as in Jamestown, Virginia. The miracle was that half did survive.
- In their most desperate hour into their camp walked a Christian, English-speaking Indian, a Patuxet no less. Yes, you read it right. He was the Squanto of our school days lessons. He was the only survivor of the plague that killed the rest of his tribe, because he was not there. In 1605, Squanto was one of four Indians taken captive and shipped to England, where they were taught English so they could be questioned. Squanto spent nine years in England. In 1614, he was returned to America by Captain John Smith (Yes, it is the same one you remember from the Pocohontas story hundreds of miles to the South.). But Squanto was quickly captured again, taken to Spain and sold as a slave. He was bought and feed by local friars who taught him the Christian faith. Upon his second return to America, Squanto was devastated to find that his entire tribe had succumbed to a plague. Alone and wandering through the woods, Squanto was discovered by Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags. The wise chief recognized that the Pilgrims had a desperate need and the Squanto desperately needed to be needed. Massasoit sent Squanto, the Christian, English-speaking Indian to the Pilgrims. William Brewster would later call Squanto, “a special instrument sent of God for their good, beyond their expectation.” Squanto effectively became an earthly savior. He taught the Pilgrims how to survive in a harsh, rugged, untamed wilderness.
- Following a bountiful harvest, they and about ninety Indians celebrated the feast that became known as the First Thanksgiving. The three-day celebration and the new arrivals from England consumed much of the provisions for the second winter.
- By Spring, the food ration for each individual was down to an unimaginable five kernels of corn per day. Nevertheless, they survived again and enjoyed a bountiful harvest after the second summer.
- When everyone approached the table for the Second Thanksgiving feast, they found a plate with just five kernels of corn as a reminder of God’s limitless grace even under the harshest of conditions.
Here is a challenge for you. Set this year’s Thanksgiving table with just five kernels of corn on each plate. Before enjoying the rest of the feast, share this story with your family and guests. God’s grace is truly wonderful! Tell everyone, about it, beginning with your family.
Much of this story was abstracted from The Light and the Glory, by Peter Marshall and David Manuel (1977), Fleming H. Revell Company; Old Tappan, New Jersey.