A Christmas Message

You are not alone!

Matthew 1:23“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When studying the nature of God, you will or should begin to realize that we are never alone. God is always with us. When Jesus was born, incarnated, it was God’s message to us that we are never alone, and by this gracious act our finite minds could then comprehend “God with us”.

Now some might believe Jesus was incarnated to provide a manger scene, or to show us how to live morally, or to glorify people like Mary or the Apostles or even to start a church, but this was NOT the reason. The sole reason Jesus was born was to die on the behalf of His children, and by this merciful act He would redeem them from their sins.

Yes, the Christmas message was always about REDEMPTION, not a manger scene. Jesus left His eternal throne to redeem His children including Mary who gave birth to His incarnation. The Roman Catholic Church would beg to differ as they strive to keep Jesus as a perpetual infant in Mary’s arms, making Jesus much more manageable than “God with us”.

Jesus grew, He became an adult while still being fully God coexistent from all eternity. His mission was fulfilled when He was put to death and then 3 days later rose again, providing an eternal pardon to those who would place their faith alone in Him!

Forget about Santa and his reindeer, forget about the secular caroling, the eating and drinking and merriness, rather celebrate Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords who by His first coming redeemed His children and by His second coming someday will usher in a new world and heaven where these redeemed children will live with Him forevermore! It brings the actual meaning of “Merry Christmas”.

Making an Impression by the Gospel

Romans 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Recently I met two different people I had met around 6 years ago on a business trip to Colorado. These were not business associates. Both I had talked to for some length but at that time it was about worldly things, don’t thing I brought up my faith or the Gospel. Well upon seeing both of these people at different times again recently, neither remembered me or the long conversations we had.

The impression was not given to them by the Gospel so I was quickly forgotten. Case in point? I can recall on a college Spring Break 30 years ago in Mexico a young man witnessing the Gospel to me, I can almost still see his face in this memory, his hair was blond for example and wearing a white t-shirt. He spoke to me about the Good News of which I was not interested in at the time, but he did leave me an impression because of that Gospel.

As mentioned in the previous post, we have approximately about a minute to make a good impression on a new person we meet. They will form their impression of you quickly during this time so be aware of this. And it will take awhile if you want that impression of yourself to change. In sales we know this inherent fact as well. You will lose every single buyer if a good impression is not made rather quickly. Dilly dallying or making jokes of which the receiver doesn’t have time for will imprint you on their brain as irrelevant. Yes, irrelevant.

Smile, be cordial, make that good impression. If you have been around dogs, they are keenly aware of looking past externals and onto the heart. They know who has the nice hearts and who has the angry vitriolic hearts and behave accordingly around them. Human beings are less aware of this, but still have enough intuition to know who is probably a scammer or a criminal or who is depressed and angry than not. So be aware of your impression and imprint on new people as if you are going to share the Gospel, a sense of trust must be established first.

Imagine the Apostle Paul as he traveled incessantly during his mission trips to Ephesus or to Corinth or to Galatia and the impression and imprint he left and it was solidified by the Gospel. Most everyone in those regions who came across Paul remembered him from then on,who he was, and what he preached. Paul was a tent maker by trade, hardly flamboyant or of great charisma. But Paul was driven by the Gospel, he was JOYFUL and CONFIDENT in its power! Take this lesson from Paul!

Less Than a Minute!

If you have ever been out sharing the Gospel, one thing you realize is that you generally have less than a minute to state your case, to gain the attention of the individual. Dilly dallying around will lose their interest after a minute. They may bob their head, but I assure you that they are just being cordial at that point.

So here is the point, GET TO THE POINT. Don’t mess around or try to ease your way in to this. If the opportunity presents itself, you have approximately 30 seconds to share the Good News. Remember Satan and his demons can be present as well around these individuals, so you need to be prepared with the power unto salvation which is the Gospel.

So here are some tips.
1. Start with quickly explaining that we are all born sinners, all fall short of the glory of God.
2. Next quickly explain that there is no amount of church attendance or good works, volunteering, which can erase just one sin off our record.
3. Next explain that by Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross and faith alone in Him, that He he is the Christ, the Redeemer, He paid in full our sin debt, every single sin and by His rising we too shall rise from the dead.

Again, remember you have less than a minute so there is NO time in debating things on world religions or small talk or a ramping up or Scriptural lesson here. Your task is to hand out the Good News and let God do His work on the individual. If it is God’s will, they will then give you more than a minute to go in more depth.

In order to become comfortable in sharing the Gospel in less than a minute, you will need to just get out and practice doing so. At first it might seem uncomfortable, but let God guide your mouth and your feet in this, you will start to feel more comfortable. I would suggest if you have a stop watch on your phone, turn it to a minute and when you are done with your presentation, see how well you did. Maybe at fist you went over a minute, so try to fine tune your presentation, what did you add that didn’t need to be added.

And don’t worry about making mistakes, just learn from them. I think one I have made in the past was not to be prepared when the opportunity presented itself. I stumbled over my words trying to get this out quickly, so I learned to follow a process. Remember Paul and Silas talking to the Philippian jailer in Acts 16? They didn’t give the jailer a hour long sermon or say “I will send you a book” or “here is a Gospel tract”, they simply said “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”.

The human’s attention span is much less than that of a dog, remember this. We will begin to tune out things after just one minute. Pastors should also remember this in their sermons, they need to get to the point of their theme in the first minute or they will find half of their flock sleeping through the rest.

When You Trust in God Alone

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

What was reaffirmed to me in the past couple of months by God is His absolutely sovereignty. Our finite brains cannot comprehend even the slightest working of God in His will.

When you trust in God alone, meaning total submission, expect the unexpected. Expect that you also may have to look back and see the wondrous thing or things God had done. People you would have never even thought of or met might be placed by Him in your life to support you and to help you. While those you expected to rise up are nowhere to be found. This lesson kept reverberating through my Mom’s accident and recovery, and now with my own trauma as I help Leo my trusted companion of a dog fight for his life.

Our ways, our thoughts meaning logic are never equaled to God’s wisdom. Some might arrogantly believe they know the mind of God completely or that they can out-wit God or hide things from Him, but they will eventually be in for a rude awakening. It is just a matter of time!

By submitting to the great God Almighty, you will be at peace and also joyful!! I cannot tell you all the joy through this trauma He has graced me with, but it continues as I see His hand in so many places. People I least thought of prayed and supported us, He protected us on a long journey, and just little things throughout each day of which He showed me NEVER to take for granted!

If God to you is the “grumpy man upstairs” or your personal ATM machine or personal genie, you do not know who God is! He is omniscient meaning all knowing, omnipresent meaning everywhere at the same time, and omnipotent meaning all powerful, there is nothing too great for our God!

What You Are Capable of In Christ

Matthew 14:29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

A lesson I am learning is to not only say I trust in the Lord, but actually put this into practice each day. Our natural fallen bodies are filled with doubt. Just because God regenerates a heart and all things have become new, this does not mean we do not need to keep trusting Jesus or that this does not need growth because it certainly does.

Above we see Peter, who was with Jesus personally each day. He ate with Him, slept by Him, joked with Him, learned directly from Him. Peter saw His miracles in person, but when the test came, he started to doubt and then as the story goes started to sink. Jesus said “You of little faith”, meaning Peter did have faith but it was “little”. Just as if we all humbly admitted, we too in certain cases would show “little faith”. Don’t believe me? The time will come when you will be put to the test whether you are going to really let go and trust God or will you follow the world and their fallen advice.

How do you know you are trusting God? When your actions do not make sense to fallen sinners. It will not seem logical for example to uproot your life, or to give yourself fully to the Lord. In Mark 1, we see Simon and Andrew by the sea. Jesus tells them to “Follow Me” and immediately they left their profession as fishermen and followed Him. It doesn’t say Simon or Andrew asked “why” or “when” or “can I have a little time to think about this”. To those around them, they were crazy, to God above they were FAITHFUL.

Peter walked on the water, he did not know he was capable of doing this until he placed his faith alone in Jesus. By doing so, God WILL show you what you too are capable of. It might not be walking on water, but something as great and you will learn more about yourself in this process, I can assure you after just going through this myself and still going through it. Each day, God is testing me, and with this comes JOY! I can see myself actually changing on how I talk to others, how I relate to others and how I see others. God will take that selfish mindset and make you selfless one way or the other to His glory alone!

When you are trusting in God alone, others will begin to notice. Those being drawn by the Father to Jesus will be some of the keen observers of this and those in your life will also begin to notice a change. Some naturally will scoff, cast doubt, but some you least likely expected to support you now will rise up for you! That is God’s doing! And we should always praise a constant working God as our loving Father on our behalf. His mercy and grace are IMMENSE. His love never ceases, His patience is unworldly, and His faithfulness to His children is awesome!

Your True Family – The Important Bloodline

What I have learned from being saved by Jesus Christ, is that your true family is NOT necessarily those you share a human bloodline with. The bloodline which is the utmost important shared is the one in Jesus Christ. You see, if you are saved by Jesus Christ, you are set apart by God and placed into a new bloodline, Jesus Christ’s! An AWESOME and HUMBLE fact!

Some might be fortunate if God so wills that your human bloodline also shares Christ’s bloodline, but those who don’t are still just as fortunate! When the Apostle Paul said “all things have become new”, he meant ALL things, not just somethings, but all things. This would include your new family!

As some know, I recently experienced a couple of devastating trials. One big one is my dog Leo is now in the fight for his life. It wasn’t my earthly family who immediately rose up to support me in these trials with my Mom’s accident and Leo, but my HEAVENLY family! Less my Mother and a couple of cousins, my immediate earthly family remained silent, always a quid pro quo in the mindset, they could not think unconditionally beyond themselves.

There was one Christian I will mention who met me very early on after my rebirth. She did never met Leo, but out of the grace and love in her heart without question supported us. And example after example from other kind hearted Christians and they continue! I realized this long ago from God, but it was affirmed once again they are my family now! And I am not saying this as a mere talking point, but a fully realized truth! Every Christian in the same bloodline as I am is my family and your actions speak more than words, in the unconditional support which can come in many ways. The help is not to score brownie points with me, nor points with God, it is always done to the glory of God alone!

With your new Christian family, they don’t ask “why should I pray for you”, they do it sight unseen and without a question, it is a natural condition. They aren’t asking for repayment, because it is God’s grace with exudes from their heart. God doesn’t do those things, they don’t either! The question to a Christian is always “when”, never “why”.

An AWESOME revelation I will relate is something called “eternal gratitude”. Those who touched your heart receive what I call eternal gratitude, meaning without end for all of eternity! Remember this fact when you unconditionally care, unconditionally display an act of kindness, that person you did this for will always have eternal gratitude for you to the glory of God alone. My motto in my new life in Christ is “don’t ask why, just do!” Because that is the Holy Spirit leading me.

Are you still placing conditions? Keeping score with others? The sad news is that you are still in your sins! How do I know this? Because if you fully realized WHO Jesus is and WHAT He did on your behalf on the Cross, there can be NO MORE SCORECARDS!