Category Archives: Christmas

The Plan’s in Place

I don’t know who it was that posted on social media last night that they were glad Christmas was over because it was highly overrated. But I remember they were a saved person, and I remember the frustration in my mind and the desire to get in the flesh and comment. Not in anger, but in God’s rebuke that it wasn’t a very good message to send the lost. But then I remembered… I wasn’t God. And I didn’t know the circumstances. And so I scrolled right on off Facebook and onto something else.

But this morning that post is still on my mind. And I found myself saying, I’m glad Christmas is over too. But not for the same reason. I’m glad it’s post-Christmas because I have I can refocus on the message of Christmas. “Redemption!”

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people;

Luke 1:68

I don’t know why it would surprise me when God’s people of today miss the message of Christmas. After all, God’s people of that day missed the first message! They’d been waiting for the Redeemer, but He didn’t come like they’d expected. They expected a King in all His royal pomp and circumstance! Not the baby of a lowly Jewish girl. Nor did many of them expect that He would die on a cross, crucified by their own. But He did.

When He died, I’m sure many believers thought, “What a letdown. We believed He was the Messiah…”

Christmas for many is just that, “a letdown.” We want the pomp and circumstance of the holiday, the tinsel and perfect family memories and they rarely ever measure up to our expectations. This year at our house was a little different than most years, we are all a little more grateful. I was grateful I had them, and they were grateful they had me. We laughed and carried on like a family that truly enjoyed the company, because we did. A heart attack and open heart will do that to you. But not every year has been like that.

Today, December 28, 2018 is three days past the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Post-Christmas. Just like it brings to mind the post-crucifixion after Jesus died. I’m ready to refocus on the message God sent me to speak! Jesus saves. He didn’t come to fix this world. That’s why Christmas gets messed up and that’s why families continue to be messed up. He came to give us eternal life and a perfect world to come. Glorrraaaaay that makes my heart happy.

In the corner of my living room I’ve redone the little pencil tree that was decorated for Christmas and made it a Valentine’s tree. L.O.V.E. My main focus in 2019 is to show the love of Christ to more people. I want to help them understand that there is hope in the name of Jesus and even when things don’t go to plan in this world, there is a world to come that we can anxiously anticipate without worry or regard as to whether or not it will measure up because the word of God says

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

All we have to do is love Him. And He is going to take us to a world where there is no such thing as disappointment. That’s an awesome message and reminder for us as we go into 2019 that God’s got a plan, and we need to make sure us and everyone we know is a part of it!

A Much Needed Christmas Sign

This morning as I tried to get my heart in shape for Christmas… which isn’t always easy… I kept hearing the song “Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my Salvation and His banner over me is love… His banner… over me… is love. If you know that tune, it is likely stuck in your head too! You’re welcome! But that’s okay, we need to remember that what ties the cradle to the cross is a love that has been there since the creation of time.

I’m not sure if the scripture came first or the song this morning but none the less it’s been a good study.

And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious. ~Isaiah 11:10

From that one scripture, so many others began to run through my mind like the banner song.

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner (ensign) over me is love. ~ Song of Solomon 2:4

Here’s your sign…

and mine too. While the world is so focused on the physical things of life that bring temporal joy (which I can be so guilty of) the very evidence of our salvation which is the love of God, often takes a back seat. It’s why there can be so much stress around the holidays. Our focus is not on the main thing. The reason Christ came was to prove His love for us. And somehow or another the focus seems to get off Him and on to us.

Here’s your star…

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root of the offspring of David (root of David), and the bright and morning star. ~ Revelation 22:16

Long before the star was in the heavens proclaiming the birth of our Savior, the Bright and Morning Star had His place in the Heavens. He knew there needed to be a plan to saved fallen man, and as the lineage of Adam to Christ, with David in the midst became filled with countless characters of less than perfect reputations, the plan stayed perfect. Amazing.

Here’s Your Savior…

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~ Isaiah 7:14

Emmanuel. God with us. Is He? Or has He been shoved to the side like the wrapping paper that was only important when it concealed the goodness. Then once the goodness of the gift was discovered the paper wasn’t important.

Do we not treat the Word of God, “God with us”, in that same manner? Once we’ve discovered His salvation we no longer find the paper important. And while the wrapping paper certainly isn’t the important part of Christmas, The Word of God, which is how He delivered our salvation to us is important for our relationship to continue. Without it, He is no longer central focus.

Here’s What You Seek…

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (His rest) ~ Matthew 11:28

I don’t know what you need this morning, but I needed to hear words of encouragement from God that would draw my mind back into the central focus of the season. Jesus. I needed that banner waving before me, draped between the two trees; one signifying life, the other death. Together they symbolize the gift of eternal life and peace through Jesus Christ. The latter of which I cast to the side in exchange for the chaos and mayhem of the season. Praise God I can’t lose eternal life or I’d misplace that in all the wrapping too!

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The Vessel, the Voice and the Value

It started with a conversation with a friend and woman of God Angel Murchison two days ago. We were sharing the many things that God has done with our lives and the countless ways He has used us in our prospective ministries. As we spoke the words “vessel and voice” came into my mind; how blessed I was that by being a willing vessel, allowing my voice to be used for the glory of God I had become of value.

Just for the record, I’ve always been of value to God. After all He died for me. But in my own eyes I struggle with worth, and for certain worthiness.

The thought continued into a conversation with my friends Daniel and LuAnn Johnson as we worked on a Christmas giving project together. We were trying to be willing vessels. We were using our voice, and we knew that it was of value for the Kingdom… but deed…. We weren’t sure how.

By doing all the things that God had laid on our heart to do, we weren’t really seeing the fruit of our labor by way of souls being saved and lives being changed. So what’s a girl to do if “there ain’t no proof in the pudding?” (that’s an old time colloquialism for evidence of effectiveness).

So this girl went to the word of God.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work

Various Vessels

Gold, silver, wood and earth. I look at those materials and I can see various people who align metaphorically. I view myself as an earthen vessel, a clay pot crafted in the Master’s hand as the scripture relates in Romans 9:21

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

We are, I am, what the Master makes me to be. Unfortunately there are times that all I see is “God made me weird.” I have quirky ways, weird ideas and take random leaps of faith or fiction that sometimes end well, and other times end in disaster. And God has to put me back on the wheel and work the bumps out of life again.

Vigilant Vessels

Ever watchful for an opportunity to serve.

That’s why I do crazy things with people like LuAnn and Daniel Johnson like host a community Christmas party. They’re a little crazier than me because they drove from North Carolina to West Virginia. But God said go, and so they did. And God said join them, and so I did. And together we make a good team because we look for opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life and for the chance to tell the world that Jesus Saves!

Victorious Vessels

Victory doesn’t always look like crossing the finish line for a trophy. Sometimes it looks like an unfinished project.

As Daniel, Luann, their young Clayton and I, fed and encouraged the folks who came to our Christmas party, we attempted to sow seeds on a cold December day, believing that they’d take root and grow into something amazing for the Kingdom. But if we’re honest there were some seeds that fell on stony ground.  Those seeds suck the life out of me because they make me feel like a failure and cause me to question once again the value of my ministry reach.

And then a man walks through the door that just needed to feel like someone cared, and we did. And it was in that moment that I see the hand of God and heard the Spirit whisper… “that’s why you’re here.”

I felt the ribbon go around my neck and the Lord kiss my cheek and say “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” We were vessels of honor and value. Sanctified (set apart from the way the world views obedience and victory) and meet (of value) for the good work that the Lord has for us in the Kingdom.

Victory! It’s not always the big wins that are of value. Sometimes the value is in the little we do being vigilant vessels.

I hope you enjoyed this word today, and I pray you’ll share this post as well as the ministry of www.theJesusChick.com. Over the next month I’m working on a my website style as well as it’s content in hopes of being a bigger blessing and opening the doors of opportunity.

You too are a valuable vessel! God bless you and Merry Christmas from the Jesus Chick!!!!

The Christmas Dance

Luke 2:20

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

When I think about the characters of Christmas, it is the shepherds that I feel most relative to. And although I’ve never been in the presence of an angel, I’ve certainly been in the presence of the Holy Spirit. What an amazing feeling. It makes me think of David when they were returning with the ark in 2 Samuel 6:14. It had been a long time since the ark, representative of the presence of Almighty God, was in their presence. There’s a reason to rejoice! There’s a reason to dance!

Sometimes, it’s a long period of time between dancing for me too. It’s why I can relate to the shepherds.

The Lowest of the Low

That’s how I feel much of the time. But the shepherds in the eyes of the general public and careers of that day, truly were the lowest of the low. Bible scholars (for which I am not) have said that shepherds were societal outcasts, a despised people. Said to be dishonest and unclean, those for whom Jesus came.

So, the shepherds becoming one of the “characters of Christmas” truly was amazing; for them and everyone else. Why would God send His heavenly messengers to people so far off of the “A” list of society? The same reason the Kings received the word as well. Because everyone needs Jesus from the lowest to the highest and in between. And in the eyes of God the souls of the shepherds were every bit as equal of importance as the Kings who came bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh.

So why do I relate more with the shepherds than kings? Economically for certain, but more so for the feeling of unworthiness. I know what a sinner I am. I know how often I fail the Lord, and while I won’t confess my faults to you, the Lord knows them. And I’m sure the shepherds felt the same way. Why would God choose to come into their presence and bestow upon them such a high honor? Why would He choose me?

As I drew the little shepherd boy dancing with his lamb, I could feel the Spirit rise up in my soul. I know the “outcast” mentality all too well. It’s not warranted, but it’s very real. God has gifted me with so many encouragers because if it were not for them, I’d be so far out in the field even the angels couldn’t find me. I don’t need people to puff me up in arrogance, some days I just need them to lift me out of the muck and mire I’ve sunk into because of depression and anxiety.

The Highest of the High

Not the Kings of earth, but the King of Heaven only reserves that title.

This Christmas I want to dance with the shepherds in high praise and honor that God chooses to be in my presence. Isn’t that amazing? That the Creator of all the universe wanted to hang out and have coffee and frosted mini wheats for breakfast. He could, and likely does dine with Kings in the richest of palaces. But He’s just as much here at my cedar kitchen table in the midst of the hills of West Virginia. Glory to God in the highest!

My 2017 Christmas Message

It’s quiet in the house this morning. Just a soggy December rain outside, falling on our tin roof that breaks the silence and makes me halfheartedly wish it were snow. I’ll get over that after the first flake hits and sticks.  I have a minor mess left to clean after we celebrated Christmas with the children and the grands last night. My heart is full…with a cup of Ninja Coffee Bar ® coffee in my hand, compliments of a husband who loves me that much. I need to hear from God. It’s been a week of running wild for events and sometimes just running for the sake of running.

I had put off reading the book of Luke in my yearly reading because I wanted to save it for Christmas. So this morning as I read through the story of Elisabeth and Mary, two of the Christmas Chicks, I marveled at their humility. They were both shocked that God had blessed them in the manner He did; I’d say they still marvel when they realize 2,000 years later, we’re still reading their story, and sermon after sermon have been preached with them as the key point. It makes me wonder how God would have my life be preached? I’m not so sure I’d want to be in the building as my life “illustrations” were used. But Mary and Elizabeth… their lives are proof that God honors those who are faithful and gives me reason to pause on this 23rd day of December. The day I too gave birth to one Tiffani Danielle. Who hasn’t stopped blessing me since.

A three point message for the faithful came from the two sister chicks of Luke:

Luke 1:39-47

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And when is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.

For the faithful God Reveals Secrets

When Mary spoke the Holy Spirit filled Elisabeth and the baby that was in her womb leapt for joy. How exciting for both women! God had revealed the secrets of both women to one another and He still reveals the secrets of the Savior to His people today.

Secrets in the sense that the world doesn’t experience that leap in the depth of our soul when the Savior makes Himself manifest in the life of His child. I understand the women’s awe. It’s how I feel every time God reminds me that He is in me, just as He was in Mary.

For the Faithful God Reveres His Servants

Luke 1:48 – For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

She was blessed! And so are we,  that the Creator of all, who spoke the Christ child into existence in the womb of Mary, spoke the Holy Spirit into existence in our souls and allows us to be used for the Kingdom. The Jesus Chick isn’t famous in the halls of earth, but in the halls of Heaven, I am known by God. And because of Him I’m known in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, California and Minnesota. My friend in WV know me as the Jesus Chick, failure that I am in my own sight, but loved in spite of it by them. I stand in awe this eve of Christmas eve…

For the Faithful God Revives the Saint.

Luke 1:53-54 –  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy. As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to His seed for ever.

Glory to God how my soul is filled and stirred today because the God of Abraham still speaks to me. Even when I turn my back on Him. You don’t know the countless times I fail the Lord. You don’t see how I feel so unworthy of His love and so I run, and would run to the ends of the earth…but I don’t have the money. And so I’m stuck with the rain on the tin roof of my West Virginia home and the rain of tears in my soul because I know how unworthy I am to be called His child and filled with His Spirit.

The best, and eternal gift that I can never repay or deserve…

Merry Christmas Shari… again.

There’s a Reason I need a Fish on my Tree

After hearing a sermon this morning from the book of Jonah, I thought, if I could create an ornament to hang on my tree of what Christmas means to me it would be one of the great fish. I would do so because I’ve always been painfully aware of how very much grace I stand in need of on a daily basis. I’m truly not quick to judge. I’m not above it, I’m just not quick at it. God is the God of second chances, but He’s also the God of 20,000 chances and beyond, to which I can attest I’ve needed.

Another thing that I have become painfully aware of is what a judgmental world we live in. You can’t walk down the street without feeling the condemning eye of someone, even if it’s just a figment of your imagination. The feeling is very real, at least for me. A former young lady from my youth department posted an image on social media last night that said this:

  • When I make a mistake
  • I know it.
  • I feel it.
  • I tear myself apart.
  • I lose sleep.
  • I don’t stop thinking about it.
  • So when I say I’m sorry.
  • Know that I mean it.
  • I’m my own toughest critic.

My first thought was, “perhaps I taught her too well, she became me.” But then I put the blame where it lies and that’s on Satan; who uses the tool of guilt to thwart the lives of any child of God trying to serve.

So… back to the ornament.

Before his great fish experience Jonah had three oracles hanging about his neck that drew him overboard.

Prejudice, Pride, and Preservation

Prejudice defined as judgement of another. Pride in the sense of judgement of self of a greater worth than others and Preservation by taking care of your own without regard for the souls of others. All of which are reasons for which Christ died, so that no man would be above another, of any greater worth and without excuse for failing to help someone in need. But we tend to forget that. Granted we’re better to remember others during this time of year, but why is it limited to December.

Jonah had that spirit about him when God told him to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”  But Jonah went in the opposite direction because he didn’t believe the people of Nineveh were worth saving. I can tell you the Jonah’s of social media should have their own site where they can spew their venom to each other instead of taking it upon themselves to be the judge, jury and executioner of people they don’t think are worth saving either. They are the “Mean girls” of today. A Christian falls and rather than picking them up we tell them their err, but when it comes to picking them up and giving them solutions to their issues, we run like Jonah.

Who ever said talk was cheap lied. It can cost someone their life.

PREJUDICE

When Jonah got on the boat with the mariners, (not people of God), they tried to save him. They didn’t want to throw Jonah overboard; that was a last resort. The world also often uses it as a last resort when they meet a drunk, a drug addict or persons of despicable character. They’ll take them in, make shelters, provide for their needs, where a Christian will give them a gospel tract and walk away, “Leaving them to God to clean.”

Jonah was expected to be a vessel. God had called him, and he hit the reject call button because he was prejudice against the people.

PRIDE

Pride too must have been part of Jonah’s character. When he determined the storm was brought on by his problem, rather than say, “turn the boat around I need to go back,” he said “throw me over board.” Willing to die rather than obey the calling of the Lord for the people’s sake. Pride will do that. It will cause you to disobey God rather than admit you’re wrong and go in the direction He’d have us go. I speak with experience, there’s a reason I need that fish on my tree.

PRESERVATION

Praise the Lord! I’m saved and preserved by the blood of Christ because my self-preservation tactics are self-destruction. Jonah was willing to die rather than submit to God’s will. But God had another plan. He preserved Jonah in the belly of a great fish that would have killed the average man; but God was not about to let one of His plans fall through. So when we read Jonah 3:1 “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh that great city, and preach unto it,” we see the God of second chances and we read next that Jonah went. For the record he still wasn’t happy about it, but he went!

I have failed my Lord so, so very many times. No, I’m not quick to judge, but even if I’m slow it makes me guilty. I need the great fish ornament to remind me to be the giver of second, third and 20,000 chances. To never look upon the fall of someone as an opportunity to give advice but for me, it becomes an opportunity to give a hand. Amen!

My Cause for Christmas

It’s unbelievable to me that it is the first week in December! And while my table is decorated for Christmas, my heart hasn’t quite caught up. And I for certain haven’t “caught up” with the average Christmas shopper, I’ve barely started. And so yesterday morning I sat down on the first Advent Sunday to prepare my heart for the month of December and more importantly the Christmas season  Perhaps you could uses some assistance in this matter as well.

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1), his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (John 1:29), and his first miracle at Cana (John 2:1). During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in repentance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for the celebration. Originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas. But by the 6th century Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the middle ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas. 1

So, for my first Sunday of this wonderful season, I wanted to steer my mind in the direction of the anticipation of Christ’s return the second time by thinking about the anticipation that would have been felt by God’s children when waiting for the Messiah the first time.

The Curse

Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thy shalt bruise his heel.

The curse was on Satan, and it reminds us that he is still hurtful to man; but like the serpent he can’t get above the heel unless we allow it because we are victorious through the Christ Jesus.

I often give Satan too much credit and allow him to come upon me higher than I should. I allow him to bind my feet and prevent me from going in the direction that God would desire me to go. I allow him to put a knot in my stomach from fear of things that may or may not happen, and even if they do, they’re most always less than Satan would have me believe. I allow Satan to tie my hands and fail to use them for the Glory of God by feelings of inadequacy, time restraints, or just a flat out failure to follow through on something God has laid on my heart.

Romans 16:20 is the counter verse to Satan’s curse:

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

How awesome to have that promise when I am tempted to throw my hands up in the air and let Satan have his Victory. From the days of Adam and Eve they were waiting for their Savior. He came in the form of the Christ child, but because of the Man called Jesus we can live in Victory!

But for a moment imagine the sickening feeling in the pit of Adam and Eve’s stomach when they realized the magnitude of their mistake. It’s the same feeling I get in mine when I fail God now knowing the sacrifice He was willing to make.

The Christmas Cure

Galatians 4:4-5

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

What Adam and Eve couldn’t fix, and what the blood of animals couldn’t cover, Jesus did. But it was a long time coming.

What must those years have been like all the days that Adam and Eve lived, knowing that every time an innocent animal, one which God created, died in sacrifice, it was because of their mistake. Adam had named those animals and spent time with them in an entirely different setting. He wasn’t a shepherd over them, he roamed the earth with them without there being any fear on either the side of the animal or him. But sin changed that forever.

How much greater should it be for us to realize that every time we sin, we’re taking for granted the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, and when we allow Satan to bruise us above the heel that he bites, we’re giving him dominion that he’s not entitled to. Christ died so that he wouldn’t have it. We need to stop giving it back.

So for my first week of Christmas I’m going to think on the curse and the cure, and with a grateful heart I’m going to thank God for His sacrifice and hopefully, with all I can muster I’m going to stomp down the lies Satan fuels my doubts with. Amen! What are you allowing Satan to have dominion over you with? Take back that dominion through prayer and the Word of God.

The Christmas Cause

David said to the men cowering down to Goliath, “Is there not a cause?” I have to ask myself that same thing when it comes to the battle with Satan, “Is there not a cause? Is this not a worthy fight to take back the dominion that I’ve allowed Satan to take from me?” Peace. That’s what Goliath had taken from the army of the Israelites. They had no peace that God could win the battle, they trusted in themselves; and that is what I’ve allowed Satan to steal from me, often I just hand it to him without a fight. The peace of God.

In verse 50 of First Samuel 17 it says that David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. David had said in verse 47 that the Battle was the Lord’s. He didn’t bring a sword, just a rock. I have to go to the Rock… ironically a new song that I wrote last week titled “I’ll tell you where I stand”… coincidence? I think not.

Let’s make this a Merry Christmas by remembering Satan is cursed, not us. Christ was the cure that lifted it from us. Today… there is a Cause!

1https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent./ht/ml

 

3 Christmas Chicks

Rewarded for Patience

Every stage of our life is an opportunity to serve the Lord. But often the very blessing of the stage becomes the reason that many don’t serve.

Children feel that they can wait, there’s plenty of time to serve God.

Married life brings with it a load of responsibilities and others who depend on us and are vying for our time. Careers are often our focus and between that and family, serving God is something that will need to wait for when the children are grown or life calms down.

So life calms down and we’re in retirement or widowhood and it’s time for rest. We’ve done our part, now let the younger one’s pick up the slack. But the problem is, there’s nobody picking up the slack. We aren’t seeing children, middle age or older women serve. We see a few worn out chickd who shoulder the load in most churches because we just don’t have the time.

But what would have happened if the the three women of the Christmas story, the Christmas chicks per say, would have had that attitude? Praise God! They didn’t and they were richly rewarded for embracing their opportunities to serve, rather that avoiding or making excuses.

The first of our Christmas chicks is Elisabeth. (Luke 1:1-25)

Elisabeth would represent the Married among us. Her life had been far from perfect. She and Zachariah had long prayed for a child, and during the culture of that day it was great embarrassment if a woman didn’t provide a child for her husband. This was the family legacy after all. And for her it would be the literal future of her husband’s ministry. And so they prayed and prayed and God had not allowed it to happen. Perhaps it was a test, or just God being God, waiting to make someone’s story into an awesome testimony.

Elisabeth is the very same name of the wife of Aaron. The priests were very careful to marry within their own family to maintain the dignity of the priesthood and keep it without mixture. They were held to a far greater accountability than the average Joe in the children of Israel. Elisabeth and Zachariah knew it and it is said of them that they both were righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. God’s timing had no doubt not been their timing. Elisabeth was well stricken in years. We’ve seen the effects of that in other women of the Bible who were impatient, like Abraham’s Sarah. Look what a mess that made when she gave her maid Hagar to Abraham, and the the world is paying a high price. Maybe that thought came to Elisabeth as she waited and helped her be more patient. But Elisabeth was willing to wait, if it never happened, believing God for what’s best. She and Zacharias had likely stopped praying for a child at this point, but God remembered their prayer. And they were rewarded for patience.

What are you waiting for God for? I have much. And I’m not as patient as Elisabeth and I often get the cart before the horse.

Rewarded for Purity

The second Christmas chick is the one we all believe to be central of the Christmas story and that is Miss Mary. (Luke 1:26-

She represents the single age of life, even though she was promised to Joseph. But she still remained pure of heart and pure of life and God took note.

The world is so jaded at this point, purity is seldom discussed in most homes. Celibacy, yes. And we may think of them as the same thing, but you can be celibate and not have a pure heart. A pure heart is a dedication far above just denying the desires of the flesh, it’s a focus on the sacredness of life and accountability to a Holy God; and that’s what’s missing in our conversation with youth. Even in our warped society it’s still expected that we speak to our young girls about saving themselves for marriage, but we don’t speak about the importance of dedicating themselves to the service of the Lord at that time; and what an important role that is in choosing the right mate and living the right life.

Mary obviously had that.

Scripture said that she was highly favoured, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.

The angel alone had scared her to death, but to hear that the Lord had taken such note of who she was must have certainly took her aback. I think we’ll be surprised what God notices in our life. And as young women, we need to understand that God is looking at our lives and He’s still looking for pure hearts to use for the Kingdom’s glory.

We learn that Mary was pure of heart, pure of body and pure of soul, willing to take on the persecution that would surely befall her because of the out of wedlock pregnancy. God continually provided for her. He changed the heart of Joseph, He allowed her the blessing of raising the Lord Jesus Christ and He allowed her the opportunity to continue to serve all the days of her life. He also made sure that she was taken care of when Christ died by appointing John to look over her.

Children who are taught to serve grow up with the understanding that God provides opportunity and He provides what’s needed for the day. I always imagine what Mary might have seen Jesus do as a child. What if He refilled all the chocolate milk cups, or made sure everyone had never ending cookies. We don’t know much about His childhood, but Mary did.

She was reward for her purity and willingness to serve

Rewarded for Perseverance

The Third Christmas chick is Anna, a widow. In the retirement of life. I found her most interesting because that’s where I’m heading.

The Spirit of prophecy which had ceased in Israel above 300 years but was now revived and through a woman. It may not have meant anything more than she was a woman of understanding. But she made it her business to instruct the younger women in the things of God. God will not be left without His witnesses

She was 84 years old and had long been a widow. She lived with her husband only 7 years when he died, and never remarried. We know nothing more than that of her married life, except that it is mentioned to her praise because she obviously dedicated herself to the things of God. She was constantly at the temple and it is speculated that she had a place to call home in the out-buildings of the temple. Her worship was both public and private. She prayed, fasted and served God night and day.

The Pharisees prayed and fasted too, but for vain glory. Not Anna. She did it for the glory of God!

It said that she spoke of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.  She was a soul winner long before the word existed. Anna is a reminder that we should not grow weary in our well doing. She had waited a long time for the opportunity to see the Messiah. I doubt her days were filled with soap operas and bonbons on the sofa. As a widow without children she would have been at the mercy of the Lord for provision and some of her days of fasting may not have been by choice. Because of her perseverance in those hard times, God rewarded her a piece of the Christmas story.

It’s kind of tucked in there at the end and often forgotten. Elisabeth is tucked in the beginning and is often over looked, but all three women serve as examples of the stages and progression of life that women go through.

Where do you see yourself? And how are you allowing God to use you?

This Christmas let’s keep their examples in our mind as we worship the Lord through this season.

Let us be patient if the Lord has us waiting.

Let us be pure if the world around us is full of corruption.

And let us persevere in the face of all adversity so that God may use us and bless us for His glory.

Merry Christmas from the Jesus Chick!

 

The Angle of the Angel

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For the past few days I’ve been reading a book by Max Lucado, “An Angel Story” of the story of Christ’s birth from the angel Gabrielle’s perspective and the battle with Satan. Before that, Dr. Myron Guiler spoke of what the angel’s reaction may have been to the news of the Savior’s plan to save mankind at the Marietta Christmas Banquet on Monday. It’s stirred my heart with wonder like the many bowls of Christmas goodies being prepared in the coming days. Including mine today, for today is Christmas at my house with my children and grandchildren. But back to the wonder… it’s also with a heavy heart that I wonder as I watch the torments of Satan and his minions to destroy the spirit of Christmas from as many angles as possible.

Isaiah 14: 12-15

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

And weaken he has. Until the November election Satan had all but made Christmas an oath in the minds of the unsaved. Businesses dare not wish a Merry Christmas for fear of a law suit. It was beyond insane in my mind. And Satan’s plan nearly worked. Year after year with gotten more Christmas intolerant.  With “Winter Holiday” being the new political correct phrase and quite appropriate with the hearts of the nation growing colder and colder towards Christ. But then suddenly, almost as surprising as the election results, it was okay again to say Merry Christmas. Christmas trees were sprouting up all over the Washington D.C. scenes and I could almost hear the dreadful growl of Satan as he watched his plan unravel.

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

Proverbs 16:18 says that Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. And so it does. The arrogance of the liberals still abounds but it doesn’t thwart the fact that they fell and fell hard. It also doesn’t reduce the fact that America is still very much in a state of disarray, politically, spiritually, militarily, and the list goes on. Satan has done a number on a nation that began as a very bold, Christian land. The war on Christmas and Christianity is far from over. But it’s certainly been a merrier Christmas than the past eight.

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Satan’s angle has always been to win the heart of God’s people. He needs worshipped like the political left need binkies and blankies. What he continues to fail to understand is it’s all temporary. Just like his failed attempts at destroying Christmas, he has failed at destroying Christianity because God is so much more than Satan and the world understand.

But one battle that continues to rage on is the war to win families. Satan’s angle on that is working pretty well. He wins them with distraction, lack of interaction, greed, self… oh he has that wrapped up with a bow. So how do we untie it and take back the family from his grip. The opposite of what wrapped it up. The opposite of pride is humility. Humble pie is on the menu for Christmas if families want to come back together. If you made a mistake, admit it. If you’ve been hurt, forgive it. If you disagree, move past it. Just spend the time loving one another. For God is love. And that’s why we celebrate Christmas because it was the ultimate act of love, humility and a gift that surpasses every angle Satan can devise. Christ = Salvation. Satan = damnation. We win.

Finding More in Christmas

a-little-bit-more

I spent yesterday running errands for the church, visiting a friend in the hospital, running too and fro and fro and too, and then rushed into the church for Wednesday night youth group. I listened to preaching as my tires rolled merrily down the highway, and spent a little time just listening to the tires roll. I just enjoyed being away from the hustle, bustle of life and tried to make sense of how Christmas gets so messed up, even when you don’t want it to. My focus gets off kilter as I attempt to wrap Christmas up and tie it with a bow, wanting to make someone’s season bright. Yes, I know that’s not what Christmas is about, please don’t judge me… or anyone else for that matter. But for this moment in time, while it’s on our heart let’s reconsider Christmas and shift our way of thinking about the meaning of Christmas…

Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

He’d spoken in the synagogue before that day, but that day His words were about to shift that city’s way of thinking, and mine today. We know that Christmas is more than the cradle, we know that that is only where the story began. It ended at the cross with God’s final, one time gift which covered the sins of all who would believe on Him. But between the cradle and the cross God sat an example of everyday Christmas that we miss. He didn’t come so we’d have a nice story to tell, He came so we’d have a nice story to live out.

Prior to the Savior’s birth God had been silent for 400 years. I panic when I don’t hear from God for a day or two, imagine 400 years! No miracles were happening, no “thus saith the Lord messages.” Just silence. I’d venture a guess that many clung to the miracles of old and told the stories again and again to remind themselves of what God had done for them in the past. They’d tell the next generation and would tell them of the promised Messiah. Perhaps it was the darkest of age because the light of hope could barely be seen. By the time the Christmas story began Roman rule governed the land. Israel was in bondage not only physically but spiritually as well. An oppressed people. And then came Jesus that day in the temple…

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me – He came with the power of God. He’d been tempted by Satan who no doubt stomped off in defeat, figuring He could sell ice to the Eskimos but couldn’t convince Jesus of anything. Jesus was God. He knew Satan’s game plan from the beginning.

He came to preach the gospel to the poor – Not the poor in finance, but the poor in spirit. In their oppressed state of life they needed hope and so do we. Religion is a repetitive action, Christ was about to kick religion out of the church and bring in the relationship.

He came to heal the brokenhearted. Tell me of a better Christmas gift than a mended heart? The world is filled with heartbreak. Some of it over the silliest of things, and some of it is gut-wrenching. But Jesus is the answer to all. In these uncertain days for which we live, we should be looking for opportunities to share the gift of Christ to broken hearted people.

He came to deliver the captives. I feel somewhat delivered myself this Christmas. As I was out and about yesterday I was wished a “Merry Christmas” by numerous businesses in West Virginia and Ohio. Glory to God!!!! I’ve missed that. We’ve been held captive in our own country for the past eight years when it came to Christian expression. The world didn’t want it. But God created the world and He has created us an opportunity. Wish someone Merry Christmas!

He gave sight to the blind. Not just physically but spiritually. This Christmas we have the opportunity to open the eyes of the blind by sharing the gospel of Christ. The angel which shared the glad tidings of great joy in Luke 2:10 said it was for all people. But the angel went back to Heaven, now it’s our turn to spread those good tidings!

He came to set at liberty those who are bruised. Tears threaten my eyes when I think about those hurting while I have a warm house and a family who loves me. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the holidays and forget the purpose of Christianity. Christianity doesn’t begin or end on December 25. It’s a 365 day of the year task that we’ve been given until Jesus returns. It’s our job to meet a need, mend the broken, and most of all mention the Savior. We’re failing miserably as a church… our grade will improve when we began doing something individually.

He came to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Perhaps this is our year to make a difference and bring more and more people into the Kingdom of God. Perhaps this is the year He’ll return. Perhaps not.

That ‘little bit more” that the Grinch found that Christmas is still being searched for by most of the world. We have it… we need to share it.