We are living in a time when God’s plan for a family is challenged on every side. We waste so much time on something that doesn’t even make sense. It was the plan that our creator devised to generate the earth, not only for humans but for the animal world as well.
In the l980’s a large nature preserve in Africa was being over populated with elephants. The managers decided to take three hundred of the young elephants away from their parents and move them to another preserve that didn’t have many elephants. They were big enough that they had no enemies. The preserve managers thought that the elephants would get along fine with the rhinos.
After a few months they were surprised to find dead rhinos. They set up a camera blind at a watering hole and were completely surprised at their findings. The orphaned elephants had created gangs that attacked and killed the rhinos, completely against their nature. Without parental guidance, the young elephants had made up their own rules.
I believe a similar situation threatens our children in today’s society. A father and mother are important. That parental guidance is essential in a young person’s development and growth.
Our church works with a tall African-American man from southern South Carolina. He went to Bible College in Texas where he learned Spanish and met his wife. They moved to Central America where he and his wife now work with the street children in the capital city of Honduras. There are many orphaned children in the big city, many who live in the doorways and vacant buildings of the city. Over the years, Alvin Anderson has shown the children that he is their friend and offers to help any of them who show that they truly want to change. Some succeed but sadly, many have such a devastating addiction to drugs and involvement within the gang community that they go back to their former existence. Though, they still respect Poppy Alvin and he still shows them love. Everywhere we go, whether it is the feeding centers, the detention centers or the dark city streets, the cry of Poppy Alvin was heard. The reason these young people love Alvin so much is that he filled a basic need in their lives. God created the family unit in the Garden of Eden. God’s model was a father leading the family with a mother as a help mate. Neither role was more important than the other, but both are important in the growth of a well balanced child to adulthood. If they don’t get the guidance at home they will look for it elsewhere, many times in gangs that give them the false sense of a cohesive family unit.
Father you are needed, if our country is to get back on track.
The word cross is derived from the Latin for crucifixion. The Roans used this cruel means of executing. The cross could be in the shape of a capital T or the more commonly used small letter t. The hands or wrist were nailed to the cross member. The feet were placed together so that a single spike could pierce them both. The victim could rest some weight on a small piece of wood just below his feet. This helped him push up enough to get a little air in his lungs, but it also prolonged his suffering. When the legs were broken the process would be over because the victim could no longer get any air. (Matthew 19:32)
Our Lord knew what was in store for him as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, but He also knew that was why He came to earth as a baby on that Christmas morning over thirty years earlier.
The terrible beating He took, the crown of thorns forced down on His head, the blood He shed all the way up to Golgotha and the blood that dripped from His hands and feet and side, all were done to offer US sinners a way to Heaven. (Romans 5:8) There are some simple requirements. You must realize you can’t save yourself, that you are separated from God and Heaven by a sinful nature. Then we earnestly ask God to come into our heart and take over. We repent of our sinful ways and live for God. And we tell others that Jesus is our Lord (Romans 10:9)
We have the right to do this, because Jesus was willing to shed His blood and give up His life on earth for us.
To me the cross means salvation, not just a church steeple or something to wear.
What does the cross mean to you?
God created the family unit in the Garden of Eden.
It came under attack immediately by the devil. Ever since that time the idea of a family, serving God has had a bull’s eye on it. God knew this would be true when He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and to us. His intentions in the sixth chapter show how the family is to be kept intact. The father and mother are to teach these ten basic laws to their children. They are to be lived to show a living example. The Proverbs tell it simply as “Train up a child in the way that he should go”. Children learn from the grown-ups that are bringing them up. There is an old saying “Monkey see, monkey do”.
The world today through sinful eyes looks down on the 10 commandments and on marriage. They call it a relationship, but a relationship that excludes God is doomed to failure. Homosexuals even promote having children without the father-mother union.
Today we have come to a point where we call good things bad and bad things good. (Judges 21:25) Every time that happened in the Bible the country soon ceased to exit.
The only hope our country has is to come back to the basic laws of God and restore the family unit.
A country where the family unit ceases to exit will soon cease to exist.
For several days after Christmas everyone seems to want to know “what did you get” especially the children. Months before the birthday of our savior, the stores have pushed advertisements by mail, social media, and flooded the television channels. All for that one morning, so it is a natural question.
But for us grownups we received gifts that money can’t buy. The wise men came looking for a messiah, a savior. The people in Bethlehem were not looking for the messiah, certainly not in a stable. They were looking for other things. Today many people still are not looking for a savior. They were born in a prosperous time in a country that men, several years in the making, created using God’s outline.
Just as the Hebrews became prosperous and did not think they needed God. But of course we all need a savior because we are all born in a sinful state.
When we come to a point in our life where we realize we can’t save ourselves we receive the best gift ever. So when we born again children celebrate Christmas we have many gifts from God. First is Salvation, a pardon from our sins. God’s love (John 3:16 & Romans 5:8) Hope for our eternity. Joy – the joy and peace from being a child of God can’t be matched.
Trust and obey.
The little word up has more uses and meanings than any two letter word. Here are a few uses of the little word. If you try to build up a list of uses you might end up with a headache.
At a meeting many topics come up. Some people speak up. The officers are up for election, and the secretary has to write up a report.
On a special occasion we get dressed up. Good smells stir up our appetites and when we are late we think up excuses. A drain has to be opened up because it is stopped up. We open up a store in the morning and we close it up at night.
In the King James Bible the word up appears 2,380 times in 2,164 verses.
In this season of Thanksgiving, we need to spend a lot of time sending our thanks up to God. (Psalm 100)
We need to wake up. (Revelation 3:2-3)
We need to grow up. (John 4:35)
Most of all we need to look up. (Luke 21:28) These things are taking place now.
So stay prayed up, so that you can be filled up, so that someday we can be lifted up.
Luke 2:1-7 The typical Christmas play, which we had a part in our youth, always cast the innkeeper as a scrooge like character. The Bible doesn’t even give him any respect. They don’t even list his name. When we look at the facts presented in the Bible it seems that the innkeeper did the best that he could. The inn was booked solid with all the out of town coming for the census. The innkeeper did all that he could under the circumstances. The heavenly Christ child was simply crowded out of the inn because of other worldly concerns and demands.
That brings up the question. “Are we any different today”?? We don’t believe his claims, because our hearts are overcrowded with worldly cares and concerns. Sometimes even our family gets in the way. Jesus said that he should come first in our lives, even before mother or dad or our children. Even our church work can get so busy that we lose sight of the goal of getting men and women, boys and girls to realize that without a living relationship with Jesus, they are headed for destruction.
Have we found room for Jesus? Just as on that first Christmas morning He is still looking for room, not to be born this time, but that we might be born again. (John 3:3) He will enter if we truly repent and turn our lives to Him. He will occupy your heart and life with grace, forgiveness, love and a purpose.
A person will never experience true joy of the birth of our Savior until they are adopted into God’s family. (John 3:3)
President John F. Kennedy had a son named after him. When John Kennedy, Jr. was a teenager he and a friend were invited to tour the newest ship the U.S. Navy had, the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier. As the guide let the boys ramble through the giant ship, they entered a restricted area. The guard abruptly stopped them. But before he could say anything the guide said “They have special privilege because he is the son of President John Kennedy”. The guard saluted the boys and got out of the way.
When we become a Christian we are adopted into God’s family and everything that God has is now ours also. When I was in school we sang a song entitled “This Is My Father’s World”. When we accept Jesus as our savior we have access to all of God’s provision s. (Psalm 8)
We may not get everything we want but we get everything we need.
The greatest thing we get when we believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord and confess with our mouth that he died and rose again, is the peace that comes into our lives. Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy.
Recently the pastor of our church took his sermon from the Song of Solomon, chapter 6 verses 4 and 5. It speaks of the balm of Gilead. Gilead was the first camp inside of the Promised Land (Joshua 5:8. The balsam shrub that grew around this mountain was known for its sweet aroma. The risen and the crushed leaves were sold throughout the east. The profits of the Old Testament spoke of the balm of Gilead when they predicted the birth of Jesus Christ. Belief in Jesus would offer a balm or peace. This would be an inner peace which surpasses all understanding.
When I had a head on wreck after my heart stopped, I experienced this “peace that passes all understanding.”
The beauty of God’s plan is that anyone can have this peace, this inner peace. When we come to realize that we are all sinners, unable to save ourselves, and ask God for forgiveness, we are adopted into the family of God. We change our ways and thoughts toward the instructions we have in the Bible. The devil hates that plan and does all he can to keep it from happening.
But to have peace we must trust and obey.
When I was first married my young wife did not cook. She knew how to cook spaghetti, so we ate it three or four times a week. She had a noisy relative who would come to visit, much like a G.I. inspection in the army. She would check out everything and report back to my mother-in-law. My wife always got good grades in the kitchen (because it was not used). My wife never let on that the kitchen was so clean because we ate out almost every day. She just accepted the praise for having a shiny kitchen.
But that is a human trait. How often are we guilty of accepting undeserved praise? It is easy to give the impression of being something we are not. All we have to do is to do nothing controversial, or upsetting to people.
Jesus seemed to be in a controversy many times. He came to help us, the lowly and sinful. Jesus said we are to love people who don’t agree with us, and don’t even like us.
The church leaders of Jesus day did not like what He was doing because they were considered unclean because they associated with all kinds of people.
Followers of Jesus are willing to risk their own reputations to help someone else who is deep in sin.