VIDEO Mandisa: It’s Christmas

Oct 16, 2012

CHRIST mas is about the Birth of Christ. Don’t make this a pagan holiday this is about JESUS it isn’t about him just this season but everyday every season every moment of our LIVES.. Jesus is not just a season he is the reason for all seasons.. but enjoying this time of the year the birth of our King which I do hear no one knows what month he might of been born it but I still enjoy the love of JESUS today and everyday until I die!! it is about the JOY the birth the LOVE of our Savior who died for me and for you.. ENJOY IT ALL!.. Jesus is all day everyday ever 365 year

Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence

He will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17

At the end of the Old Testament, God seems to be in hiding. For four centuries, the Jews wait and wonder. God seems passive, unconcerned, and deaf to their prayers. Only one hope remains: the ancient promise of a Messiah. On that promise the Jews stake everything. And then something momentous happens. The birth of a baby is announced.

You can catch the excitement just by reading the reactions of people in Luke. Events surrounding Jesus’s birth resemble a joy-filled musical. Characters crowd into the scene: a white-haired great uncle (Luke 1:5–25), an astonished virgin (1:26–38), the old prophetess Anna (2:36). Mary herself lets loose with a beautiful hymn (1:46–55). Even Jesus’s unborn cousin kicks for joy inside his mother’s womb (1:41).

Jesus, You are the gift of redemption and hope for us. Thank You.

Luke takes care to make direct connections to Old Testament promises of a Messiah. The angel Gabriel even calls John the Baptist an “Elijah” sent to prepare the way for the Lord (1:17). Clearly, something is brewing on planet Earth. Among the dreary, defeated villagers in a remote corner of the Roman Empire, something good is breaking out.

You have come to us, and we rejoice! Jesus, You are the gift of redemption and hope for us. Thank You.

Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world. C. S. Lewis (from The Last Battle)

By Philip Yancey 

INSIGHT

The virgin birth of Christ is not the only miracle in the Christmas story. John the Baptist’s birth was also miraculous. His father, Zechariah, was a priest of the line of Abijah (a priest during David’s time descended from Aaron) who served at the temple in Jerusalem twice a year. John’s mother, Elizabeth, was a cousin of Mary and also a descendant of Aaron (the first high priest). Zechariah and Elizabeth faithfully followed God’s laws, yet they were “very old” and were childless because Elizabeth could not conceive (Luke 1:5–7). God miraculously blessed this elderly couple with a child—and no ordinary child. Their son would be “great in the sight of the Lord” (v. 15) and “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (v. 17).

What in the Christmas story is most meaningful to you?

 

Alyson Kieda

Unjust Suffering

1 Peter 2:18-25

One of the hardest situations to bear is unjust suffering. We can expect to reap pain and trouble if we sow sin, but what if we haven’t done anything wrong? Even trials that seem to come for no reason are easier to bear than those resulting from someone’s mistreatment of us.

This is what Peter had in mind when he wrote today’s passage. Slaves in the Roman Empire had few rights if any, and abuse wasn’t uncommon. Becoming a Christian didn’t change the circumstances, but it did require a different response. Peter told them to respectfully submit to their masters and endure mistreatment because such a response finds favor with God.

Whoever has been saved by Christ is also called to follow in His footsteps. Although the Lord committed no sin, He suffered death on a cross for us. Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sins, but He also made it possible for us to respond to mistreatment as He did.

Christ’s responses are noteworthy, first because Jesus didn’t revile or threaten those who hurt Him. His silence was fueled by forgiveness rather than anger or thoughts of revenge. Even as He was being nailed to the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). Second, Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father, who judges righteously. The Lord had no need to fight for His rights, because He was doing exactly what God had called Him to do.

Our job is to make sure we’re following Christ and living in God’s will. Then if others mistreat us, we can simply hand the situation over to our Father, knowing that He will judge it rightly in His time.

Paradoxes of Scripture

“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” (Proverbs 11:24)

“To get, we must give.” This is not the world’s method for attaining prosperity, but it is the paradoxical message of today’s verse, as well as that of Christianity in general.

Note some of the many other paradoxes in the Bible related to this basic truth.

  1. To really live, we must die. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).
  2. To save one’s life, he or she must lose it. “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33).
  3. To be wise, we must become fools. “If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise” (1 Corinthians 3:18).
  4. To reign, we must serve. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:21).
  5. To be exalted, we must become humble. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).
  6. To be first, we must be last. “So the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16).

Finally, note the ninefold paradox of a truly Christian ministry: “In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God. . . . By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:4, 8-10). HMM

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

2 Kings 14:23-27, 29

Again we glance at the Israel kingdom, and find Jeroboam the Second reigning with his father, and afterwards succeeding him on the throne.

2 Kings 14:23-25

So that Jonah had other and more pleasant work to do after he had returned from Nineveh. Those who execute difficult tasks shall have easier work ere long.

2 Kings 14:27

God has respect to the sufferings of his people; he is a tender father, and cannot endure to look upon the miseries of his children. He stays his justice as long as ever it is consistent for him to forbear.

Amos 3:1-8

During this reign the herdsman prophet, Amos, delivered messages from the Lord. His utterances are short, sharp, and decisive, and are generally conveyed in rural figures, such as were suggested by his rustic occupations. His prophecy is not adorned with the graces of style, being composed of short questions, sudden exclamations, and claps of thundering threatening; we select a specimen from—

Amos 3:2

Others sin against less light, and therefore their fault may be winked at; but justice grows severe where transgression is wilful and malicious.

Amos 3:3, 4

God’s voice is not mere noise, it means something, and woe to those who despise it. He does not threaten without cause.

Amos 3:5

Evil does not come to men by chance, neither will God withdraw bis hand till he has wrought his design.

Amos 3:6

Do not think that God sends false alarms; be sure that he is the author of the troubles which afflict the ungodly.

Amos 3:8

The drift of this series of questions is to remind the people of their God, and of the certainty that he was speaking to them by his prophets and by the judgments which so sorely tried them. We need the same arousing now, and if the Lord should send it by a herdsman, we ought to be ready to receive it. God, who chooseth the things that are despised, was pleased to send a peasant to warn a king. Who was more fit to deal with a brutish people than a keeper of cattle?

 

The Lord Jehovah speaks,

How dreadful is his voice!

But if the Saviour’s face be seen,

We tremble, yet rejoice.

 

Almighty God, pronounce

The word of conquering grace;

So shall the flint dissolve to tears,

And mourners seek thy face.

 

What Is Your Attitude Toward People You Consider To Be Lower Than Yourself?

Romans 12:16

I’ll never forget the time Denise and I were sitting in a restaurant with a well-known businessman, and this man embarrassed us so badly that we decided we would never go to dinner with him again. My wife and I had been regularly visiting this particular restaurant because we had met a waitress there whom the Lord had really put on our hearts. We didn’t frequent that restaurant because we liked the food; we went there because we wanted to see this young lady come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

This businessman had contacted us and asked to visit with us. So we decided to take him to dinner at this restaurant where we had been sharing the message of Jesus with this waitress and with many of the other people who worked there.

All prospects for a nice dinner with our guest were soon shattered, however, because the man began to speak to the waiters and waitresses as if they were dogs! He kept brusquely ordering them to do this and that for him; meanwhile, the waitress—our friend whom we were trying to win to Jesus—looked over at us in shock! No one in that restaurant had ever received such horrible treatment from Denise or me.

As the evening wore on, the situation grew even worse. Our guest began to verbally abuse the waiters and waitresses. He told me, “I hope you don’t mind how I talk to the servers, but they are here to serve me, and I intend to be served well.”

With that, the man again started to rudely bark out more orders to the restaurant staff. Then he starting poking fun at their culture and laughing at them for being Russians. He flashed his Rolex watch and bragged to the servers about his luxury automobile and his massive residence back home. He did everything but say, “I’m better, smarter, and richer than any of you—and I don’t want you to ever forget it.”

Then this businessman asked the servers if they went to church anywhere. How I wished he had kept the Lord out of the conversation, because he was being such a poor example of Jesus Christ!

As dinner was served by fretful restaurant workers, Denise and I tried to turn the conversation to spiritual things. We endeavored to tell our guest about what God was doing in our lives and in our ministry, but it was obvious that he only wanted to talk about things that he thought would impress us. In reality, however, this man was consumed with himself, and we were completely unimpressed with him. He was rude and crude and a very poor example of a Christian businessman.

I excused myself to go to the restroom, but my real purpose in leaving the table was to get an opportunity to go directly to the kitchen and personally apologize for the offensive treatment the entire staff was enduring that night. I pushed open the double doors and walked into the kitchen as if I were a part of the staff; then I asked all the waiters and waitresses to come hear what I had to tell them.

Once they were gathered around me, I apologized profusely for what was happening at our table. They looked at me despondently and said, “Wow, that man is horrible. We are so thankful that you came back here to talk to us. We know that you and your wife are not like that man.”

It simply breaks my heart when I see Christians like this businessman who think too highly of themselves. People like this “speak down” to others they perceive to be lower than they are. This prideful attitude should never be a part of a committed Christian’s behavior. The apostle Paul told us, “… Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate….”

The word “mind” is from the Greek word phroneo. It means to think, to consider, or to ponder. It carries the idea of intense reflection. Furthermore, the Greek uses a negative, which makes this verse a strong prohibition. This means it could be better translated, “… Stop fixating on high things….”

Paul is commanding us not to preoccupy ourselves with or be consumed by “high things.” The words “high things” are from the Greek words ta hupsela. In this verse, they refer to the opinions and behavior patterns that accompany a person who has an attitude of superiority.

The apostle Paul tells us that instead of having this shameful attitude of superiority, we need to learn how to “… condescend to men of low estate….” The word “condescend” is the Greek word sunapago. This is a strange word to be used in this verse, for it is a compound of the words sun—which means together with; the word apo—which means away; and the word ago—which means to be led. A number of scholars say this word conveys the message that those who think too highly of themselves need to move away from (apo) such exalted thinking of themselves and be led (ago) to join or to associate with (sun) men of low estate. I believe that this is exactly what Paul had in mind when he chose to use the word sunapago.

But what does the Bible mean when it speaks of men of “low estate”? The Greek word for “low estate” is actually the word tapeinos, which is the Greek word that means to be humble, modest, simple, and unpretentious. In other words, the word tapeinos describes common, ordinary, everyday, normal people. It does not mean poor.

There are many proud and arrogant poor people, just as there are many humble wealthy people. The word tapeinos (“low estate” or “humble”) doesn’t refer to a person’s financial status; rather, it refers to his attitude toward life, toward himself, and toward others. Regardless of his station in life, he has never allowed himself to think of himself as better than others.

 

Although there are several possible interpretations of this verse, this is the one I like the most:

“… Stop fixating on things that make you think too highly of yourself and that contribute to an attitude of superiority. You need to leave that snooty thinking behind and come back down to earth so you can learn how to associate with common, ordinary, everyday, normal people….”

I don’t know if you have ever struggled with an attitude of superiority, but if you have, isn’t it time for you to leave behind that way of thinking once and for all? You are not any better than other people. You came into the world the same way everyone else did, and you will leave exactly as everyone else leaves. You were purchased and washed with the same blood of Jesus that is available to every other soul on planet earth.

Even if you have more education, more money, and a higher status in society than most people, that doesn’t make you better. In fact, these privileges make you more responsible, for God expects you to come down to a level where you can use your gifts, talents, and money to be a greater blessing to people!

Especially during this holiday season of the year when so many people are struggling to make ends meet, why don’t you think of ways that you can minister to people in your life whom you normally wouldn’t reach out to? Think of what a difference you can make in someone else’s life by simply reaching out to bless him or her in some special way. Don’t let yourself get away with thinking you’re too busy or too high and mighty to do this, because you’re not. Don’t forget—someone once did this for you; now it is your time to do it for someone else.

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, thank You for speaking to me today. Forgive me for the times I’ve acted like I was better than other people. I am sorry for that behavior, and I don’t ever want to do it again. I ask You to convict me when I start to act this way and to show me how to quickly change my behavior. I really want to be an example that will make people want to know Jesus, so help me to change any part of my behavior that does not give a proper impression of Your holy character.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I do not have a superior attitude about myself. I have the mind of Christ, and I demonstrate an attitude of love and acceptance to everyone I meet. When people walk away from me, they feel like they have been accepted, embraced, and treated with respect. Every day the Holy Spirit is teaching me more about how to give others a sense of value about themselves. I thank God that an attitude of superiority has no place in me and that each day I am getting better at reaching out to others to benefit and bless their lives.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you ever encountered a person like the one I described at the beginning of today’s Sparkling Gem? How did that person’s attitude of superiority affect you and others?
  2. Have you ever been guilty of having such an attitude? Do you have this attitude in any area of your life right now? If the answer is yes, in what area of your life do you think of yourself as being better than other people?
  3. Now that you know this attitude is not acceptable with the Lord, what are you going to do to change your attitude and actions? What steps can you take to start changing the way you relate to people whom you have previously treated as being “less” than you?

You came into the world the same way everyone else did, and you will leave exactly as everyone else leaves.

 

10 Good Reasons Why We Do Not Want To Twaddle Around With Sin

1. “Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment… including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:14b)

 

2. “‘Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:24)

 

3. “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:36)

 

4. “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Luke 12:2)

 

5. “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30, 31)

 

6. “On the day [of judgment]… God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ… ” (Romans 2:16b)

 

7. “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat… So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)

 

8. “God will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts… ” (1 Corinthians 4:5b)

 

9. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

 

10.”Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books… Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12, 14, 15)

 

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