Tag 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!

I Can’t Make You Listen

The hardest part of being a child of God, parent, grandparent, niece, cousin, aunt, and friend is when your heart breaks as you share the gospel and they won’t listen. They’re not rude. They’re not unkind. They’re just indifferent.

I debated for a few seconds on whether or not to write this blog today. My heart is tender and I’m weepy. But that’s okay. I need to share while the pain is fresh.

I’m not a super saint. I’m a messed up child of God that was saved by grace alone, that’s my greatest fear on why people won’t listen to me. They look at me and think “Why does she think she has it (life) figured out?” And I don’t, but I have eternal life figured out and that’s my message.

Ezekiel was not only a spokesman, he was a watchman. He watched as the world around him spiraled into destruction because of a nation that rejected God. I see the same thing, only now God is not viewing us as a nation, He’s viewing us individually, and every single one of us is going to stand accountable for what we’ve done in this life. Alone, before God.

I envision my family and friends standing before God and having Him say, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” I feel Ezekiel’s frustration. But I feel God’s pain of rejection and I feel my broken heart that those people will miss out on Heaven and suffer Hell. Yes. There’s a Hell. Why won’t they hear?

I can’t make them listen. I can only blow the horn again and again and say Jesus is Coming Soon whether or not you believe. He will step out on that cloud and call His people home because the Bible says He will and not one word of that book has failed yet.

Christmas can be a sad time because loved ones aren’t with us, but at least if we know Jesus Christ as Savior we know that we will spend eternity rejoicing with our loved ones. But what about the ones that aren’t there? I don’t believe we’ll remember them. But you can believe (because the word says it’s true), that they’ll remember us.

After the heart attack and surgery, I’ve struggled with playing games with faith. I wasn’t guaranteed another Christmas, and I almost missed it. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell everyone I can about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

I can’t make them listen. But I can keep blowing my horn and telling the world Jesus is coming soon! Be ready!!!!

Do you know you’re ready? If not, follow the link for the plan of salvation at the top of the page! And then tell me and everyone else in the world you can about Jesus!

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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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 Harlot’s White Christmas

Although Irving Berlin penned the 1942 song “White Christmas” two decades before I was born, it’s still alive and well and topping the charts of Christmas albums across the world 75 years later. That’s an amazing run! Not as amazing as Amazing Grace, but none the less, who wouldn’t want that kind of history for their music? I still prefer those crooning sounds of singers like Bing Crosby that draw you so far into their song you can almost catch a drifting snowflake on your tongue. But as I painted my Silkie Chicken version of “White Christmas” yesterday while feeling in the holiday spirit of 2017, it drew me back to the white Christmas of 1400 B.C.

What? How was there Christmas, before Christ was born? There was actually Christmas in the book of Genesis and throughout the Old and New Testaments, but this morning my Christmas story came from the book of Joshua, with the key character being a Harlot named Rahab. Needless to say, this ain’t your 1940’s Bing Crosby version of the story.

We find this version in Joshua (Chapter 2), when Joshua sent out two men to go and spy on the land of Jericho. The two men went into a harlot’s house named Rahab to lodge because it was a “hotel” of the day, and likely because it probably wasn’t uncommon for many men to travel in and out of that house unsuspected, but Rahab knew who they were and that God’s hand was upon the children of Israel. Rahab wasn’t a brainless woman of ill repute, she was a woman quite aware of the political and biblical events of the day. Harlotry may have been her business, but her family was the affair she was most concerned about.

Hidden by the Harlot

Joshua 2:1-6 ~ And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.  And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

It wasn’t just happenstance that the two spies ended up in the home of a harlot. God’s decides from a vantage point higher than ours, who it is that gets a role in the Christmas program. We want the ones of good reputation, the pretty people. God instead chooses a harlot by the name of Rahab because He knew her heart was ready for rehab.

Hallowed by the Harlot

Verses 7-11 ~ And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;  And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Rahab reverenced God and His people. She acknowledge that there was power in the God they served and that she and her people had a healthy fear of Him.

It’s unfortunate today that there are many people who don’t fear our God because His people aren’t allowing anyone to see their deliverance. Rahab had seen how God had delivered His people. She’d heard the talk around the neighborhood about the great things God had done and it scared her to death! She knew that her people had nothing that could win against a God so mighty. When is the last time you heard people sharing about the deliverance of God with the community, even though we in the church know it happens. We’ve seen God tear down walls in families and restore relationships, we’ve seen Him wipe out disease and heal our sick, and we’ve seen Him fight and win battles where it would appear all was lost, but God brought the victory. But nobody’s talking about that…

Rahab reverenced God and His people because they were the topic of conversation everywhere!

Heaven Hears the Harlot

Vs. 12-18 ~  Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.  And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

God knew the heart of Rahab before the story ever started. He knew that she was ready to leave the lifestyle she was in and be converted.

So what does all that have to do with a White Christmas?

The red cord that hung from the window of the harlot’s house, that crimson colored rope, signaled her redemption. She and her family would be saved so long as they stayed within the walls covered by the red cord. Another symbolic red covering was that of the children of Israel when the blood over the door signaled the death angel to pass and their family spared the loss of the first born. All of which lead to the final application of the red, covering the sins of the harlot hearts of the world when Christ’s blood was shed on Calvary. That baby we celebrate this Christmas that washed us all as white as snow.

Rahab and all those close to her were saved because of the red cord, and I’m hanging onto that hope that I and all those close to me will be saved when that final day of judgement comes. But like Rahab, I have to be vigilant about opportunities to be used by God.

The Angle of the Angel

christmas

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.