Enjoying the Journey

Did you see the star? Over the last few days there has been a great deal of talk about the rare convergence of Saturn and Jupiter in the night sky. The appearance of this Christmas Star stirred lots of discussion and a little debate over whether it was the same star that the wise men followed to Bethlehem. Matthew records for us the story of the magi and their most unusual GPS… “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are…

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Dad and mom made it a practice to read the Christmas story with our family each Christmas morning. As a little boy this was a serious delay in the opening of presents! However, through the years I have come to love this time and Tammy and I continued the tradition with our kids. It is a reminder of who we celebrate. The two narrative accounts of the Christmas story are found in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20. If you have never done this I would encourage you to take time to read the story in your home this year. Then pause to thank God with your family for His “unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). This week I was reading in…

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It was Sunday, September 7, 2015. My mind was racing in so many directions. I knew that God was working in my life to show me His will but it still was not clear. After church that afternoon I sat down alone in my study and opened my Bible with no real idea of where I was going to read. I only knew I needed to hear from God. My Bible opened to the beginning of the New Testament and so I decided to begin in the gospel of Matthew and read until I knew God had spoken to me. Through the genealogy in chapter one. Into the familiar account of the magi following the star in chapter two. Isn’t…

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I do love Christmas. While there are so many enjoyable aspects to this time of year, we must never forget that, for a Christian, every holiday should be a holy day and every celebration an opportunity to worship. You see, the reality is: I do love Christ. He has changed my life and eternal destiny! There is a danger in being detoured by the secularization of the season, but there is also a pitfall in getting bogged down in only one part of the story. The manger, the stable, the star, the shepherds…all of this is just the beginning. In the words of the iconic radio commentator Paul Harvey, you have to get “the rest of the story.” We must…

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Go ahead and sing it – you know the words! We have always had a lot of fun singing and acting out the old Christmas classic The Twelve Days of Christmas. This English Christmas Carol was based on the twelve days of Christmas celebration that actually began on December 25 and ended on January 5. While the lyrics have changed some through the years and there is debate over the exact meaning of each line, one thought permeates the song: each day and each gift is a reminder that someone truly loves you. Did you know that Christmas is only 12 days from today? What a wonderful thing it would be if over the next twelve days we meditated each…

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There is no name like the name of our great God! The apostles said of the name of Jesus, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We are told in Philippians 2:9, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” I say again: There is no name like THE NAME! The varied names and titles of God found throughout Scripture are full of meaning. They are more than identification – they are a revelation of the very character of our Lord. The name of God is connected to the nature of God. As…

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Is your Christmas shopping list complete? Christmas card lists, grocery lists, gift lists…tis the season for written reminders! What about your Christmas prayer list? At this time of year it is easy to grow overly introspective. In fact, that can even become selfishness. It is easy to fixate on your own family and contemplate only your own wants. A Christian Christmas will always consider others. The greatest gift you ever give is intercession. Your prayers can touch hearts and homes that you cannot even see. Here are a few suggestions for your Christmas prayer list… Pray through your Christmas cards. Take each card, note, picture, or gift as a prayer reminder for friends and family. “I thank my God upon…

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They have been playing in our home for nearly a month now… You know the ones! Songs of the season. Christmas carols. It seems the whole world begins to sing at this time of year. The great philosopher, Charlie Brown, asked, “Why can’t it be Christmas all year long?” Lucy sarcastically replied, “You are a FANATIC, Charlie Brown.” Perhaps. And perhaps I am too. But, wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could live all year with a song in their heart? There is only one way for that to happen. The only song that lasts is a song about a Person instead of an event. We couldn’t stand songs about snow and the commercial trappings of Christmas all year long!…

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This is my favorite season of the year! I love the time with family and friends. But the older I get the more I realize that the greatest Christmas blessings are the ones that are wrapped up in Christ. Ones that are priceless and that do not change with the calendar. It is what Paul celebrated when he wrote to Philemon about, “acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ” (Philemon 6). The gift is Christ! The blessings are spiritual. As we study the Word of God we open those gifts, or rather, they are opened to us by the Holy Spirit. At this busiest time of the year beware of living so much in the fray…

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In our last article I wrote about the geographical and circumstantial reasons that some loved ones cannot be home for Christmas. But there is another reason. Some people may even be around our tables and under our roof, but they are still away from home. Spiritually they are wandering from the Lord and His people. The greatest distance is the distance between a wayward soul and God. The greatest separation is the separation of sin. At this time of year we should all be praying that God will bring prodigals home to Himself. If you have a loved one that you are praying for we would love to help you pray. Over the next few weeks in our home we…

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