Christian Christmas

Another winter has arrived. It is a gift from God.  With it, Christmas Day is pending and the Christmas Season is here.  Who is it for?  The truth is that Christmas (the celebration of the coming of God’s son to earth) is only for Christians.

Christmas is for giving and rejoicing in love gifts received from the Father.  “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” ( 1 Corinthians 2:12).  The gift of the spirit which is of God allows Christians to see all the great gifts (all things) that He has freely given us.  All things are the gifts of every promise that is revealed to us by His word through the Holy Spirit.  All things includes the ‘horizon-gifts’ that are freely given, but still out of sight, like coming into His presence, seeing His beauty, inquiring of His wisdom, living forever with Him in His Kingdom.

A Christian Christmas is a re-reflection on the gifts from God revealed to us this year by His Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit’s revelations there is no Christmas.  With it, there is much rejoicing, praising, thanking and eternal Peace.  Christmas is for sharing.  Share our revealed gifts from God.  Tell others of His Wonderful works!

Know Him and have a warm, merry Christmas.

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Be a Man

“Be a man.”

How many times have we heard that in our lives?  What does it mean? Work. Be strong. Face your fears. Be tough. Work and play through the emotional and physical pain.  And we do have to do all those things.  The level is ratcheted up some when someone says to, “Be a GOOD man”.  That means show up not only for work but for your kid’s life; it means to support your wife; coach the ball team or mentor the kid without a father; be a leader at church and in the community; it means to stand up for truth and confront evil wherever it rises up; and it means to do it not just for a few days but for decades if the Lord allocates us the years.  That one word ‘good’ raises the stakes and expectations a lot.

In 2 Samuel 23:8-39, we are shown a whole other level when we see what a Mighty Man looks like, specifically King David’s Mighty Men.  This is a group of men who show up, bow up, believe, stand their ground and win the day, over and over.  These are mature men that are either drawn to, mentored by, or produced from the leadership of a great individual man himself.  David was called “a man after God’s own heart” (an elite description over the centuries).  He was a man of great faith and great grace, a man of strict beliefs and associated integrity, who had big actions and plans, and who faced big opponents and faced his fears.  Who runs with a guy like that?

The author of 2 Samuel says there were 37 mighty men of David.  Not many makes this status.  Greatest among these was Abishai the brother of Joab who raised his spear against 300.  Josheb-Basshebeth similarly raised his spear against 800 whom he killed in one encounter. And how about Eleazar, who stood his ground when the army of Israel retreated around him? He killed the enemy until his hand froze to his sword.  It says the rest of the army returned, but only to strip the dead.   Now that is a Mighty Man. A man who stands in the gap, alone, and delivers victory when all others around you retreat.  “Mighty” is another level beyond good.  Where do you set your goal today?  Do you value “being a man”? Do you work at being a “good” man?  Most of us do.  What would happen if we set our goals on being a Mighty Man of God?

In today’s world, most of us don’t take up a spear or sword and physically face the enemy by the hundreds, although some in our military may still confront evil and stand for freedom in legendary ways.  But we can stand in the gap, and not retreat when others so easily do now, and stand up for truth, for the orphan or widow, and for the Lord’s Kingdom.  We can set a goal of doing this not just for a good day or good week, but for all the decades the Lord gives us on this earth.  This is a mighty goal, but today’s Truth is, that just like David’s men had a mighty King, we have a mighty God who inspires greatness. Psalms 113:5 says it well, “Who is like the Lord our God?”   Will you join us today in his mighty pursuits?

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Today’s Battle

For men, the word battle brings up images of Civil War, WWII, Vietnam, or Gulf War battle scenes.  In this sense the word battle is a noun, referring to a hostile encounter between enemy forces.  For the warrior engaged in the battle itself, the word battle is an action verb, meaning to fight or forcefully accomplish.  We all see the physical battles and the warriors, but we so often miss, are naïve about, or do not even recognize the spiritual battle for our souls or the souls of those around us.  Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  We are bombarded with thoughts and spiritual attack daily.  Our forceful response determines our actions and the consequences.  A thought permeates the mind, the soul is stirred, a personal response emerges, the physical body moves, and the actions have consequences.  A good thought, one of hope or love or faith, that is responded to positively, yields positive actions and fruitful consequences.  A negative or evil thought, when yielded to has consequences negatively affecting us and those around us.  What evil thought will you yield to today that will elicit a negative consequence? Anger, pornography, jealousy, or selfishness? And what will be the consequence? A relationship severed, an exploitive industry and culture perpetuated, a heart hardened, a person made bitter, truth not defended, or perhaps a great God not served?  The alternative is a stark contrast.  The writer of Philippians encourages men to stand firm (to forcefully accomplish) in the Lord and “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things”.   What consequences come from this purposeful focus?  Loving relationships are forged, evil industries are starved or defeated, friends are supported, great visions of good are cast, and a great God is honored.  Today’s truth is, that there are really only two sides in the spiritual battle for men’s souls.  In Matthew 12:30, Jesus says, “You are either for me or against me.”    In Joshua 24:15, Joshua puts is so clear and so direct for men when he says, “…choose for yourself today whom you will serve”.   Joshua’s response was clear and forceful, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.   Will your stance be as strong and purposeful today?

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