Sunday, December 30, 2012


“The Lord longs to be gracious to you.”  Isaiah 30:18

On December 31, the clock strikes midnight ushering in another New Year.  Another 365 days to fan the flames of your unfilled hopes and dreams.  A new beginning and gift full of promise.  But you must accept it, unwrap it and use it.  Not everybody does.  Maybe you dread what the New Year holds; retirement, the empty nest, chronic illness, unemployment, life without a loved one.  Well, God loves to take people at the end of their rope and set them on the road to peace, joy and victory.  He is the expert at drying tears, calming fears, injecting courage into anxious hearts and removing the sting of old memories.  He “makes all things new” Rev. 21:5.  But He never leads you back, just forward.

Listen: “The Lord longs to be gracious to you.”  What do you want to see happen this year?  Does it include having your own business?  Losing some weight?  Reuniting with your family?  Only you can complete the question, “What if I could…?”  You alone know what makes your heart leap.  Stephen Covey says, “Begin…with the image of the end of your life as your frame of reference…Each day will then contribute to the vision you have of your life as a whole.”  Seek God.  Determine your goals.  Write them down, and then release the outcome to Him who “longs to be gracious to you.”  To be gracious means “to show favor.”  The desire of God’s heart is that you walk in His grace and favor every day of this year.

I am sure you have heard someone say, “You are going to eat those words.”  It may sound like a mere phrase to us but in reality we do eat our words.  What we say not only affects others, but it also affects us.  Words are wonderful when used in a proper way.  They can encourage, edify and give confidence to the hearer.  A right word spoken at the right time can actually be life changing.  Proverbs 15:23 says, “A man has joy in making an apt answer, and a word spoken at the right moment” – how good it is.

Personally, I must bless with my words and not curse because whatever I say stands and happens the way I said it.  One of the powers the Almighty God bestowed on me.  We can literally increase our own joy by speaking right words.  We can also upset ourselves by talking unnecessarily about our problems or things that have hurt us in relationships.

The words that come out of our mouth go into our own ears as well as other people’s, and then they drop down into our soul where they give us either joy or sadness, peace or upset, depending on the types of words we have spoken.  God desires that our spirit be light and free so it can function properly, not heavy and oppressed.  We can learn to choose our thoughts, to resist wrong ones and think on good, healthy, and right ones.  I have often said, “Where the mind goes, the man follows.”  And it could also be said that where the mind goes, the mouth follows!

Having a positive outlook on life and speaking positive words based on God’s Word is one of the most wholesome things we can do.  You do not even have to be talking to someone to increase your joy with your words.  The mere confession of good things is enough to cheer you up.  When you get up in the morning, if there is something you need to attend to that day that you are not looking forward to, you can say, “I dread this day,” or you can say, “God will give me strength today to do whatever I need to do and to do it with joy.”  Which of these two statements do you think would better prepare you for the day?

Anyone who wants to be healthy is careful to choose quality food that will provide good nutrition.  If we want to be healthy in our soul and spirit, we should also choose to take in words that will build us up and increase our peace and joy.  Fortunately, we do not have to wait for someone else to cheer us up!  We can do it with own words by what we choose to talk about.  When we understand the power of words and realize that we can choose what we think and speak, our lives can be transformed.

We talk a lot and quite often pay no attention to what we are saying, let alone think seriously about the impact of our words.  If we are honest with ourselves, we may find that some of our bad moods are directly linked to our conversation.  Even some of our problems can be linked to bad choices we make about what we say.  I want to encourage you to take some time and think about the types of things you usually talk about.  What kind of conversation do you enjoy and participate in?

We all have challenges in life, but we can make them better or worse by the way we talk about them.  I am not suggesting at all that we deny reality, but we can choose what we talk about.  Instead of feeding ourselves a steady diet of “bad news”, we should choose to read, watch and talk about good things.  Your words may not be the cause of all your problems, but they can cause a lot of them and they should be given a good deal of consideration when we are looking for answers to the problems we encounter in life. 

I believe there are many good things happening in the world and there is probably more good than bad, but the evil is magnified in a way that often seems overwhelming.  Turn on any news magazine and you will find it filled with reports of murder, theft, wars, famine and all kinds of horribly tragic events.  One thing is for sure, speaking negatively could hurt you and speaking positively never will, so why not go with the positive and see what kind of results you get?

Monday, December 3, 2012


“They…presented him with…gold…incense and…myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11

It is Christmas.  Jesus’ birthday.  But what can you possibly give to the One who only has everything, but created it all?  The wise men probably asked the same question.  As scholars they were astute enough to navigate thousands of miles guided by a star, influential enough to warrant an audience with King Herod, and rich enough to undertake such a long journey carrying expensive presents.  But in addition to “gold…incense and…myrrh,” they gave Jesus some gifts that are priceless – note what they gave:
  1. Their Time.  Long before his birth they had invested years researching and preparing for it – not counting the two years it took them to travel to where He was born.  Do you know what?  You are as close to God today as you want to be, planned to be, and took time to be.  Want to get closer?  Spend more time with Him.
  2. Their Worship.  Once they found Him, “They fell down and worshiped Him” Matthew 2:11.  Worship changes us profoundly because when we stand in God’s presence with an open heart and let His Spirit work in us, “We are…changed to be like him” 2 Corinthians 3:18.
  3. Their Hope.  While those around saw only darkness these men recognized, “The Light shines in the darkness” John 1:5.  And that has not changed.  God’s healing love shines brightest in the darkness of our dashed dreams and broken hearts.  So in the midst of your family celebrations, take time out to be with Jesus: and how about a special gift to His Work?  After all, it’s His birthday.

What the Birth of Christ Represents To Us

1.  His Birth Gives Us Faith To Believe In God.

Many prophets and others in the Old Testament prophesied the Birth of Christ and many other things concerning Christ the Messiah and His Church.

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

What special meaning does the fact that the prophecies concerning the birth of Christ being fulfilled have for our lives today?

It gives us faith to believe that what God has written in His word is true.  It helps us to believe in the reality of the birth of Jesus Christ and all that comes with it.

The prophets of the Old Testament prophesied many wonderful and awesome things including God's destiny and purpose for the church today as well as the eternal kingdom.  If what they said about the birth of Christ came to pass, then that which has been prophesied for today and the future will also come to pass.  This gives us faith to believe in all that God has for us.

2.  His Birth Meant Joy Coming Into The World.

Much joy was brought into the world as a result of the birth of Christ and this joy has now entered into each one of our lives as a result of His coming into our lives.

Luke 1:14   "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”

John 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My [joy] may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Acts 2:28    “You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of [joy] in Your presence.”

3. The Birth Of Jesus Meant That A Savior Was Provided.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

A friend once received a Christmas card that had a special significance. It went something like this:

"If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.  If our greatest need hand been money, God would have sent us an economist.  But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior."

4.  His Birth Provided Hope of Eternal Life and a Way for us to Enter Heaven.

John 14:2   "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:6   Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

We celebrate the birth of Christ, Who has given to us a great hope.  We can be comforted and walk in tremendous joy and peace, knowing that Christ our savior was indeed born over 2000 years ago.  Therefore we have access to Him through faith.

Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Thanks to the birth of Jesus Christ, we have the hope of eternal life and a wonderful life here on earth filled with all of the blessings that God continually bestows upon us.  Let us give glory to God for all that He has given to us through the birth of Christ.