Nice Movie & Story From Mitch Albom.
Nice Movie & Story From Mitch Albom.
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:2
One year, those responsible for decorating their church for Christmas decided to use the theme of “Christmas lists.” Instead of decorating with the usual shiny gold and silver ornaments, they gave each person a red or green tag. On one side they were to write down the gift they would like from Jesus, and on the other they were to list the gift they would give to the One whose birth they were celebrating.
If you were to do this, what gift would you ask for and what would you offer? The Bible gives us lots of ideas. God promises to supply all our needs, so we might ask for a new job, help with financial problems, physical healing for ourselves or others, or a restored relationship. We might be wondering what our spiritual gift is that equips us for God’s service. Many of these are listed in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. Or we might long to show more of the fruit of the Holy Spirit: to be more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind and good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled (Gal. 5:22–23).
The most important gift we can ever receive is God’s gift of His Son, our Savior, and with Him forgiveness, restoration, and the promise of spiritual life that begins now and lasts forever. And the most important gift we can ever give is to give Jesus our heart.
You overwhelm me with Your gifts, Lord. In return, I want to give You the very best present that I can. Please show me what You want most from me.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part. Yet what can I give Him—give Him my heart. Christina G. Rossetti
Each year, there’s a predictable variety of responses to the celebrations and traditions of the holiday season. During the next few days, we will examine three reactions to Christmas. Although 2,000 years have passed since Christ was born, His birth still elicits similar attitudes.
One common response is indifference. Even if they are filled with the holiday spirit and celebrate Christmas with gifts, dinners, decorations, and parties, some people remain totally indifferent to Jesus. He doesn’t even cross their minds because they’ve lost sight of the reason for Christmas.
In the story of the magi’s search for the newborn King of the Jews, we see a surprising indifference on the part of the religious leaders. The entourage from the East caused quite a stir in Jerusalem. It wasn’t every day that impressive visitors arrived with such a shocking and exciting announcement. Yet when King Herod asked the scribes and chief priests where the Messiah was to be born, they simply told him the answer but made no attempt to go to Bethlehem themselves. Their lives were already filled with their religious duties, and they had no time or interest in anything that might disrupt their positions of prominence and authority.
Sometimes it’s easy to let the activities and pressures of Christmas push Jesus out of our thoughts. After all the shopping is finished, the gifts are wrapped, and the food is prepared, we might rush off to a Christmas Eve service. But even then, we often feel distracted. Though it may take deliberate refocusing, this year let’s intentionally make Jesus the priority of Christmas.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
The peace of Christ is not the peace of the world. If history is any criterion, the search for world peace always will be futile, for there have been wars going on somewhere in the world practically every day throughout history.
But even if world leaders could bring peace to the world, it would not be true peace. “My peace,” said Jesus, “is not as the world giveth.” Peace is internal, not external. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” (James 4:1).
The true Christian will never be left at peace in the world, even when there are brief respites of peace between the nations of the world. Only in Christ is there real peace. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
The Lord Jesus Christ alone can give true peace, for only “he is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). He is the true peacemaker, for He “made peace through the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20). Before there can ever be genuine peace between man and man on Earth, there must be peace between man on Earth and God in heaven.
Once a person has been “justified by faith,” however, he has eternal “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Then, for daily peace, he can simply appropriate this truth in his life. “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). HMM
Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. —2 Samuel 7:22
Those who heard Luther’s prayers have told us of the tremendous effect they often had upon the listeners. He would begin in moving humility, his spirit facedown in utter self abnegation, and sometimes rise to a boldness of petition that would startle the hearers.
There is among us today a pseudo-mysticism which affects a tender intimacy with God but lacks that breathless awe which the true worshiper must always feel in the presence of the Holy God.
This simpering spirit sometimes expresses itself in religious baby talk wholly unworthy of those who are addressing the Most High.
To hear a so-called Christian… addressing words of saccharine sweetness to one whom he or she calls “Jesus dear,” is a shocking experience for anyone who has once seen heaven opened and stood speechless before the Holy Presence. No one who has ever bowed before the Burning Bush can thereafter speak lightly of God, much less be guilty of levity in addressing Him. When Horace Bushnell prayed in the field under the night sky, his friend who knelt by his side drew in his arms close to his body. “I was afraid to stretch out my hands,” he said, “lest I touch God.”
God, I come to You in intimacy, but also with the awe and reverence of a subject before a majestic King. Amen.
Great is the mystery… God was manifest in the flesh. (1 Timothy 3:16)
The birth of Christ was a divine declaration, an eternal statement to a race of fallen men and women.
The Advent of Christ clearly established:
First, that God is real. The heavens were opened and another world than this came into view.
Second, that human life is essentially spiritual. With the emergence into human flesh of the Eternal Word of the Father, the fact of man’s divine origin is confirmed.
Third, that God indeed had spoken by the prophets. The coming of the Messiah-Savior into the world confirmed the veracity of the Old Testament Scripture.
Fourth, that man is lost but not abandoned. Had men not been lost no Savior would have been required. Had they been abandoned no Savior would have come.
Finally, that this world is not the end. We are made for two worlds and as surely as we now inhabit the one we shall also inhabit the other!
The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in the love of Christ, and the yielding of his affections to Christ in return. First, faith sets her seal upon the man by enabling the soul to say with the apostle, “Christ loved me and gave himself for me.” Then love gives the countersign, and stamps upon the heart gratitude and love to Jesus in return. “We love him because he first loved us.” In those grand old ages, which are the heroic period of the Christian religion, this double mark was clearly to be seen in all believers in Jesus; they were men who knew the love of Christ, and rested upon it as a man leaneth upon a staff whose trustiness he has tried.