A Hobo’s Christmas. A Nice Little Christmas Movie From 1987
A Hobo’s Christmas. A Nice Little Christmas Movie From 1987
I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture…. Ezekiel 34:14
Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, explained how she developed a strong appetite for the Lord and His Word. It began with her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Nelson Bell. “Each morning when I went downstairs to breakfast,” she said, “my father—a busy missionary surgeon—would be sitting reading his Bible. At night, her work behind her, my mother would be doing the same. Anything that could so capture the interest and devotion of those I admired and loved the most, I reasoned, must be worth investigating. So at an early age I began reading my Bible and found it to be, in the words of the old Scotsman, ‘sweet pasturage.’”1
To raise a daughter with strong faith requires her mother to be the example and her father to be the reassurance. Our children often see us watching television or surfing the Internet or on our smartphone. It’s worth asking ourselves this question: Does my daughter (or do my children or grandchildren) see me grazing in God’s Word, reading and learning it with relish?
Let’s set an example worth investigating.
1 Peter 1:1-7
Peter wrote the first of his two epistles to encourage people who were undergoing persecution. And the disciple decided to begin the letter by reminding believers of who they are in the Lord.
Believers are chosen in Christ. It’s not that the Lord selects some people to enter heaven and others to go to hell. Rather, the good news of Jesus Christ is offered to all humanity (John 3:16; Rom. 1:20)—salvation is for everyone who receives the Savior through an act of free will. The bottom line is that God wants you (2 Pet. 3:9).
Believers are recipients of mercy. No one can claim that his or her righteous works earned a place in heaven. We are saved through the mercy of Christ alone (Titus 3:5). God loved us so much that He made a way for us to be in relationship with Him now and forever.
Believers are protected. Psalm 34:7 says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him.” We are so well guarded that the only way our life can be touched by hardship is if God allows it. That doesn’t mean we won’t experience loss or upheaval. Sometimes the Father permits His children to walk through dark valleys, but always the protective shepherd, He remains by their side (Psalm 23:4).
The message of Peter’s letter is simple: Do not be afraid when you go through trying times. Focus on who you are in Jesus Christ. You have reason to be bold, assured, and triumphant, because you are a chosen, beloved, and well-protected child of God.
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)
Some have argued that James contradicts Paul at this point, since James emphasized that both Abraham and Rahab, among others, were justified by works (James 2:21, 25). In fact, this seeming conflict between Paul and James has often been cited as one of the “contradictions” of the Bible.
There is no contradiction, however. Neither Abraham nor Rahab could have been justified by the “works of the law,” and James never said they were. Abraham lived before God even gave the law to Moses, and Rahab lived in a pagan culture that knew nothing about it. Furthermore, James himself knew that no one could really be saved by the law, for he said that “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
Actually, both Abraham and Rahab were “justified”—which means “seen as righteous”—by faith in God and His provision of salvation (James 2:23; Hebrews 11:31). The righteousness of Christ, who perfectly kept the law of God, is imputed to believers by faith (Romans 4:3-5). God sees him or her as “in Christ,” and so they are justified (recognized as righteous) solely through faith.
However, other men cannot see our faith, and therefore we must be justified in their sight by our works. True saving faith inevitably will manifest itself in works of righteousness. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: . . . For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8, 10). HMM
For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us. —2 Corinthians 5:13-14
It remains only to be said that worship as we have described it here is almost (though, thank God, not quite) a forgotten art in our day. For whatever we can say of modern Bible-believing Christians, it can hardly be denied that we are not remarkable for our spirit of worship. The gospel as preached by good men in our times may save souls, but it does not create worshipers.
Our meetings are characterized by cordiality, humor, affability, zeal and high animal spirits; but hardly anywhere do we find gatherings marked by the overshadowing presence of God. We manage to get along on correct doctrine, fast tunes, pleasing personalities and religious amusements.
How few, how pitifully few are the enraptured souls who languish for love of Christ….
If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to recapture the spirit of worship. We shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus. We shall need to put away our phobias and our prejudices against the deeper life and seek again to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He alone can raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship. TIC130-131
Father, help me to recapture the spirit of worship, that passion for Christ of which Paul speaks, through afresh revelation of Your awesome presence. Amen.
There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh
abomination. (Revelation 21:27)
When we look closely at this world system and society, we see the terrible and ugly scars of sin. Sin has obscenely scarred and defaced this world, taking away its harmony and symmetry and beauty.
That is the negative picture. Thank God for the positive promise and prospect that heaven is the place of all loveliness, all harmony and beauty.
These are not idle words. If you love beautiful things, you had better stay out of hell, for hell will be the quintessence of all that is morally ugly and obscene. Hell will be the ugliest place in all of creation!
It is a fact that earth lies between all that is ugly in hell and all that is beautiful in heaven. As long as we are living here, we will have to consider the extreme—much that is good and much that is bad!
As believers, we are held firm in the knowledge that the eternal Son came to save us and deliver us to a beautiful heaven and everlasting fellowship with God!
In order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ, look at His example. He is always witnessing: by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem: by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain’s brow. He witnesses so clearly and distinctly that there is no mistake in Him. Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be you as the brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom. You need not say, “I am true;” be true. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with His Spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility, if your witnessing is to be to your Master’s glory.