The Christmas Story: What is your Motivation? (Part 2)

It is Christmas! No other season motivates persons like the Christmas season. The Christmas season motivates persons to shop more, to clean more and to give more. The Christmas season motivates persons to decorate their homes and properties with lights and Christmas-themed items. The Christmas season motivates families to spend more time with each other. The Christmas season motivates persons to show love towards each other.

The Christmas season is indeed a wonderful season. However, let us not forget that there would be no Christmas if there was no Christmas story. There would be no Christmas if God was not motivated to send His Son to live on the earth. There would be no Christmas if God was not motivated to chose the virgin Mary to carry His Son, Jesus Christ.

There would be no Christmas if Mary did not believe the message from the Angel Gabriel. There would be no Christmas if God did not motivate Joseph to take Mary as his wife even though he found out that she was pregnant before they were married. There would be no Christmas if Caesar Augustus was not motivated to declare that “a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire” (Luke 2:1 NLT). There would be no Christmas if Joseph was not motivated to travel to Bethlehem.

There would be no Christmas if Joseph and Mary were not motivated to use a stable as the place for Mary to give birth to Jesus. There would be no Christmas if the Angels were not motivated to announce the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds by singing:

“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Luke 2:14 NLT

There would be no Christmas if the Shepherds were not motivated to leave the field and go see Jesus. There would be no Christmas if the wise men were not motivated to follow the star to the place where Jesus was.

Let us think about it for a moment. The songs (Hark the Herald Angels Sing and others), the wise men and the star and the nativity scene. All of these things make Christmas special. All of these things motivate us during the Christmas season to celebrate Christ and to spread love and cheer. None of those things would be present without the Christmas story and there would be no Christmas story without the One Who put the story together.

What is your motivation? God was motivated by His great love for us to put the Christmas story together and God wants us to be motivated by that story to live an overcoming life of faith, hope and love.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

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Your Spiritual Growth was Designed by God

In the beginning God said:

Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation–every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened.

Genesis 1:11 New Living Translation

God designed plants and trees to produce seeds which would produce other plants and trees. As human beings we expect an apple seed which is planted in the ground to grow into an apple tree. We expect the same result with other seeds. God also expects the same result because that is the way He designed it.

God designed human beings to produce human beings which would produce other human beings. As human beings we expect children to grow into adults. God also expects the same result because that is the way He designed it.

God also designed human beings to produce spiritual fruit which would cause them to grow spiritually. God designed human beings to receive the Word of God in their hearts to produce spiritual fruit. God designed human beings to receive the Word of God in their hearts to produce faith. Faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Word of Salvation) produces salvation.  

God expects the gospel of Jesus Christ to produce persons who believe in Christ. God expects the gospel of Jesus Christ to produce persons who grow into the image of Christ. God expects that result because that is the way He designed it. The Apostle Paul told the Church at Rome:

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Romans 8:29 New Living Translation

Are you a Christian? Then your spiritual growth was designed by God. Your spiritual growth was designed by God from the beginning of the world. A stove is designed to produce a flame or heat which can cook food. A fridge is designed to keep things cold. God expects you to grow spiritually. God expects you to grow and grow until you become like Christ. This is the expected end that God has designed for all Christians. 

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11 King James Version

Thanksgiving Day: Are You in the Ten Percent?

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 

Luke 17:15-17 New Living Translation

Today is Thanksgiving Day. This is the day where the United States of America focuses on giving thanks. This is the day where families and friends will sit down together and share a meal and give thanks for many things. The Bible records a ‘Thanksgiving Day’. On this day ten men who were suffering from the disease of leprosy went to Jesus and cried out:


“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Luke 17:13 New Living Translation

All ten of those men wanted Jesus to have mercy on them. All ten of those men wanted Jesus to heal them of their affliction. Jesus indeed had mercy on them and told them to “go show yourselves to the priests”. All ten of those men obeyed Jesus and while they were on their way to the priests they were healed of their leprosy. Jesus healed all ten of those men. When the men saw that they were healed nine of them continued on their way. When one man saw that he was healed he did something very interesting:


One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. 

Luke 17:15-16 New Living Translation

Ten lepers were healed but only one returned to Jesus to say “Thanks”. That day was the day for those ten lepers to give thanks. That day was their ‘Thanksgiving Day’ but only ten percent of them recognized it. Many of us live busy lives but let us not be like the 90% who received a blessing from God but did not return to bless God. While we are traveling the road of life let us always remember that God is looking for us to be in the ten percent. The ten percent are those who stop and return to give God thanks for what He has done for them. The ten percent are those who appreciate the goodness and the mercy of God enough to give God thanks. Are You in the Ten Percent?


It is Thanksgiving Day but let every day be a day of thanksgiving to the One Who is good and Whose mercy endures forever.


For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Psalm 100:5 New Living Translation

Are You Living Your Best Life? (Part 1)

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4 NLT)

Are you living your best life? I am not referring to a good life. I am not referring to a life which is better than others. I am referring to a life which is the best. The best life is the highest standard of living that any human being could ever achieve. Many persons would declare that they have lived a ‘good’ life. Some would compare their lives to others and say that they are living a ‘better’ life but few would say that they have the ‘best’ life.

In the eyes of human beings the best life is a perfect life; a life where no mistakes were made, no difficulties were encountered and no persons were hurt. However, in the eyes of God the best life is the one which is centered around obedience to His Word. In the eyes of God the best life is the one where God’s plans and purposes are placed first. Let us look at the life of David. Those who have read about David in the Bible know that he did not live a perfect life. However, this is what God said about David:

…’I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 13:22 NLT)

David was not a perfect man. He was not a perfect King. He was not a perfect father but his heart was perfect in the eyes of God. In other words, his heart desired God and His Word. David desired to please God at all times. Here is a secret of the overcoming life:

We please God when we obey His Word and when we obey God’s Word His blessings will come upon us.

The best life that anyone can live on earth is a life of living by “every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Before David died he told his son Solomon:

Observe the requirements of the LORD your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. (1 Kings 2:3 NLT)

David taught his son how to live the best life in the eyes of God. Jesus taught us the same thing:

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. (Matthew 7:24-25 NLT)

The best life in the eyes of God is not the life where there are no obstacles, difficulties and failures. The best life in the eyes of God is the life which overcomes those obstacles, difficulties and failures by following the Word of God. It is God’s will for us to live our best life. It is God’s will for us to live an overcoming life. That is why He sent His Son Jesus to the earth:

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10 NLT)

IT IS TIME FOR US TO LIVE OUR BEST LIFE

 

 

Secrets of the Overcoming Life: Knowing Where Your Hope Lies (Part 1)

There is one thing that adversity, trouble, problems, negative circumstances and bad news do to us as human beings:

They cause us to lose hope

News of high levels of unemployment can cause us to lose hope of finding a job. Losing a job in the midst of a recession can cause us to lose hope of being able to take care of ourselves or our family. A bad report from the doctor can cause us to lose hope of having a long, healthy life. However, the Bible reminds us that we can overcome adversity, trouble, problems, negative circumstances and bad news if we know where our hope lies. If we know that the source of our hope is not in this world but in the Word of God then we can overcome adversity. If we know that the source of our hope is not in what men and women have said about tomorrow but in what God has said about tomorrow then we can overcome bad news. If we know that the source of our hope is not in the stability of our physical environment but in the stability of our spiritual environment then we can overcome trouble and problems.

Abram’s wife Sarai was barren. She could not have children. There was no in vitro fertilization available to help Abram and Sarai. All hope on earth that they could have children was gone. It did not help that they were old. However, one day Abram heard the voice of God and God told him something amazing:

“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. (Genesis 12:1-2 NLT)

There was only one way for God to make Abram into a “great nation”. Abram needed a son. After Abram heard the Word of God and obeyed God spoke to him again:

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” (Genesis 12:7 NLT)

A descendant is the biological offspring of someone. Abram and Sarai’s circumstances told them that they could not have children but God told Abram that his biological offspring would possess the land of Canaan.

Sometime after God spoke to Abram and Abram questioned God about not having any descendants. Abram looked at his situation and said that one of his servants will be his heir. However, God told Abram:

“No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:4-5 NLT)

Abram and his wife were old and Sarai was barren. Now God was saying that not only will Abram have a son of his own but he will have so many descendants that they could not be counted. Abram’s response to the Word of God is a secret to living an overcoming life:

…Abram believed the LORD… (Genesis 15:6 NLT)

Abram believed the Word of God. Abram believed that what God said would actually happen. Abram’s hope of having a son of his own and having many descendants rested in the Word of God and not in his earthly circumstances. There is hope within the Word of God. Your entire world may be falling apart but if God says that you are on solid ground then you have the hope that you will overcome.

The Psalmist David said:

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NLT)

The Psalmist knew that God said that he would never leave him. Therefore, even in the “darkest valley” or the “valley of the shadow of death” he would not be afraid. Why? Because his hope was not in the path that he was walking on. His hope was in the Word of God.  Some of us walk through paths of adversity and trouble that seem to be never ending but the Bible reminds us that all hope is not lost. If God says that there is light at the end of the darkest tunnel there is hope. And if there is hope then you must keep walking until you see the light.

Always remember:

Our hope does not lie in the circumstances we face. Our hope lies in what God has said about our circumstances. Our hope lies in the promises that God has given to us through His Son Jesus Christ. When we know where our hope lies (in the Word of God) then we can boldly move forward knowing that we will overcome.

Secrets of the Overcoming Life: Knowing God (Part 2)

It is impossible to know God without trusting Him. Sounds strange? It is impossible to know God as your Healer without trusting Him to heal your body. It is impossible to know God as your Financial Provider without trusting Him to provide you with finances.  It is impossible to know God as a Deliverer without trusting Him to deliver you or your household. A very close look into the lives those men and women in the Bible who overcame obstacles, trouble and afflictions would reveal one thing:

THEY ALL TRUSTED GOD

Lets look into the life of Abram (later called Abraham). Abram lived with his family in Haran. The name ‘Abram’ meant “exalted father” but Abram had no children because his wife was barren. He had no land to call his own. He was not famous and he was not rich according to the standards of the world at the time. One day Abram heard the voice of God. God told him to leave his country, his family and his father’s house and go to another land. God said what He would do for Abram if he obeyed:

And I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 

I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you. (Gen.12:2-3 NLT)

Abram heard the voice of God but he did not know God until he decided to trust the Word of God. Abram obeyed God and left his family, his father’s house and started to travel towards the land that God would show him. Abram was on his own in a dangerous world but he trusted God with his life, family and possessions. Towards the end of his “sojourn” God had “blessed him in every way”. (Gen.24:1 NLT)

  1. A man who left his family without children was blessed with many children and became the “father of many nations” (Gen.17:4-5).
  2. A man who left his family with few possessions was blessed with an abundance of gold, silver and cattle (Gen.13:1).
  3. A man whose name was unknown to the world when he left his family was blessed to the point where his name was known by the Kings of Egypt, Babylon, Gerar and all of the wealthy men of the region. (Gen. 12, 14, 20, 23)
  4. A man who came from a heathen family inherited the Kingdom of God. (Matt.8:11)

Abraham knew God because he trusted God in everything. Anyone can live an overcoming life but they must learn to trust God in everything. David was a young shepherd but he overcame a lion and a bear because he trusted God with his life and his father’s sheep. When the giant, Goliath, showed up dressed in armor from head to toe with a spear, sword and a shield David knew that God would deliver the giant into his hands because he knew the God of Deliverance.

I join the writer of Hebrews:

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. (Heb.11:32-35 NLT)

Knowing God is our armor against the troubles of life. All of those men and women overcame obstacles, troubles and afflictions because they knew God and they knew God because they decided to trust God in the face of their obstacles, troubles and afflictions. We can decide to do the same because with God:

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IF A PERSON BELIEVES (Mark 9:23 NLT)