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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” – Luke 2:25,26

Thirty-three years later, old man Simeon was gone, and Mary was the sole survivor of all the witnesses of the birth of God’s Messiah.  This great event of the birth of Christ was the advent of a plan that had its beginning before Creation, and that had been spoken of by the prophets and dreamed of by all Israel for thousands of years.

The Savior of the world had finally arrived, but who was there to witness this greatest of all events?  Three wise men, a handful of shepherds (and maybe a drummer boy), an old woman prophetess, and Simeon.  Besides Joseph and Mary, very few people knew what had just happened, and fewer still understood the magnitude of it.

As Simeon returned the baby back to Mary, he must have looked deeply in her eyes as he realized that she alone of all these witnesses would remain at the end.  He and the prophetess Anna were old, the shepherds were scattered, and the wise men had returned to their homes.  Even Joseph would be gone.  Only Mary would be left.

Thirty-three years later, as she knelt at the foot of a cross on Golgotha and gazed up at her son, did her heart go back to those few precious moments so many years before when she held the promise of all mankind in her arms, and a cloud of witnesses surrounded her to testify that this indeed was the Son of God?  Now they were all gone, and she alone was left as the sole witness that His was truly a virgin birth, that this really was God in Man who had come to save the world.

But now, he hung upon a rough wooden cross, rejected by the church, the government, and the people.  Only a handful of outcasts clung to Him in the last dying moments, while all the crowds who had witnessed His mighty works had fled.  How many who had once believed but had now become troubled with doubt, had turned away, leaving her to weep for Him on top of that lonely hill?

Did she ever complain?  Did she ever once deny that His birth was truly the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit?  Never.  Her silence was her strongest witness, for she of all people knew who He really was and that the mission He came to accomplish could only end this way.  He had come to die.

As we gather round the Christmas tree and recite to our children the meaning of Christmas, let us never forget the young Jewish girl who once held God’s gift to mankind in her arms and, through her suffering at the foot of the Cross, gave the world an enduring witness that truly He was the Son of God.

Thank God for His wonderful gift and the price that was paid to give it to us.

 

 

Merry Christmas to everyone
Dale & Cindy

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“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:” (Isaiah 9:6)

It has been said that, if the three wise men at the Nativity had been three wise women, they would have asked directions, arrived on time, cleaned the stable, helped deliver the baby, and given practical gifts.

Of course, had it been one of us men, we would have probably booked a room in the King David Hotel, hired a doctor to be at the bedside, and ordered something for the baby and the mother off Amazon.com.

I reckon so.  But the Lord didn’t do it that way, did He?

Why did God decide to bring forth His Savior through common childbirth?  Why couldn’t He have just stood up in the sky and expose His Glory for all to see, and just tell us what to do?  That would have dissolved all doubts.  That’s how we would have done it, wouldn’t we?

When the Lord does something, He often moves in ways that the carnal mind would never have chosen.  We purchase programs with sets of instructions, plan out campaigns, take surveys, place ads, and pursue anything else that we think will bring about the desired responses.  Too often we end up with something that may look good, but which does not carry the same eternal weight that it would have had if we had allowed God to do it.

God, on the other hand, chooses foolish things to confound the wise.  He calls His prophets out of nowhere, raises up preachers with unpopular messages, and relies on the prayers of people simple enough to believe Him.  To bring about His purposes, He uses yielded vessels to carry out His work, not sophisticated intelligent men.

But if it’s going to work, it has to be God who does it.

Funny how He works in ways we would never have figured, but you know what?  He always gets incredible results.

He chose the most humble of births, and died the most desecrating of deaths so that we would have the opportunity to choose Him and walk in glory.

Unto us a child is born.  But who would have ever thought that He would have chosen a stable for his birth?  But the world has never forgotten it.

And 2,000 years later, wise men still seek Him.

 

Brother Dale

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“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”

Luke 2:25,26

Thirty-three years later, old man Simeon was gone, and Mary was the sole survivor of all the witnesses of the birth of God’s Messiah. This great event of the birth of Christ was the advent of a plan that had its beginning before Creation, and that had been spoken of by the prophets and dreamed of by all Israel for thousands of years.

The Savior of the world had finally arrived, but who was there to witness this greatest of all events? Three wise men, a handful of shepherds (and maybe a drummer boy), an old woman prophetess, and Simeon. Besides Joseph and Mary, very few people knew what had just happened, and fewer still understood the magnitude of it.

As Simeon returned the baby back to Mary, he must have looked deeply in her eyes as he realized that she alone of all these witnesses would remain at the end. He and the prophetess Anna were old, the shepherds were scattered, and the wise men had returned to their homes. Even Joseph would be gone. Only Mary would be left.

Thirty-three years later, as she knelt at the foot of a cross on Golgotha and gazed up at her son, did her heart go back to those few precious moments so many years before when she held the promise of all mankind in her arms, and a cloud of witnesses surrounded her to testify that this indeed was the Son of God? Now they were all gone, and she alone was left as the sole witness that His was truly a virgin birth, that this really was God in Man who had come to save the world.

But now, he hung upon a rough wooden cross, rejected by the church, the government, and the people. Only a handful of outcasts clung to Him in the last dying moments, while all the crowds who had witnessed His mighty works had fled. How many who had once believed but had now become troubled with doubt, had turned away, leaving her to weep for Him on top of that lonely hill?

Did she ever complain? Did she ever once deny that His birth was truly the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit? Never. Her silence was her strongest witness, for she of all people knew who He really was and that the mission He came to accomplish could only end this way. He had come to die.

As we gather round the Christmas tree and recite to our children the meaning of Christmas, let us never forget the young Jewish girl who once held God’s gift to mankind in her arms and, through her suffering at the foot of the Cross, gave the world an enduring witness that truly He was the Son of God.

Thank God for His wonderful gift and the price that was paid to give it to us.

Brother Dale, dale@revivalfire.org

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Three Wise Women

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:”

It has been said that, if the three wise men at the Nativity had been three wise women, they would have asked directions, arrived on time, cleaned the stable, helped deliver the baby, and given practical gifts.

Of course, had it been one of us men, we would have probably booked a room in the King David Hotel, hired a doctor to be at the bedside, and ordered something off Amazon.com.

I reckon so. But the Lord didn’t do it that way, did He?

Why did God decide to bring forth His Savior through common childbirth? Why couldn’t He have just stood up in the sky and expose His Glory for all to see, and just tell us what to do? That would have dissolved all doubts. That’s how we would have done it, wouldn’t we?

When the Lord does something, He often moves in ways that the carnal mind would never have chosen. We purchase programs with sets of instructions, plan out campaigns, take surveys, place ads, and pursue anything else that we think will bring about the desired responses. Too often we end up with something that may look good, but which does not carry the same eternal weight that it would have had if we had allowed God to do it.

God, on the other hand, chooses foolish things to confound the wise. He calls His prophets out of nowhere, raises up preachers with unpopular messages, and relies on the prayers of people simple enough to believe Him. To bring about His purposes, He uses yielded vessels to carry out His work, not sophisticated intelligent men.

But if it’s going to work, it has to be God who does it.

Funny how He works in ways we would never have figured, but you know what? He always gets incredible results.

He chose the most humble of births, and died the most desecrating of deaths so that we would have the opportunity to choose Him.

Unto us a child is born. But who would have ever thought that He would have chosen a stable for his birth? But the world has never forgotten it.

And 2,000 years later, wise men still seek Him.

Merry Christmas to everyone,

Brother Dale

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Ah, it’s that season again – Christmas! Children’s eyes light up, sparkles and tinsel are seen everywhere, red and green decorate everything, and there’s that unmistakable feeling in the air again – it’s Christmastime!

It’s also time to rehash the same old debate about whether we should celebrate Christmas or not. The argument goes (I’m sure you’ve heard it by now) that Dec. 25th was set up by Constantine on the winter solstice and is therefore a pagan holiday. (Actually, the solstice is on the 21st, but why let that get in the way of a good argument?)

While that makes for a good debate, I wonder if it misses the entire point? True, Jesus was not born on Dec 25th, so why celebrate it? Actually, the Bible indicates that he was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles (see: In a Stable), but we don’t celebrate that, do we? And after all, He told us to celebrate his death, not his birth. And of course there’s the argument about the Christmas tree being pagan idolatry, etc., etc.

All valid points to make an argument to shut off the season and turn to a more ascetic life. At least we would be technically correct and stripped of anything that smacks of pagan idol worship, amen? (Does that mean we have to tell the kids there’s no Santa Claus?)

Sigh. Does it really have to be that way? Is this really such a big deal with God?

My first pastor gave me what I have always thought was the best answer. She acknowledged that although Jesus wasn’t born in December, nevertheless, there was a spirit of peace that seemed to blanket the entire world during that season. It was as if God Himself honored Christmas by giving us a taste of His Spirit and suppressing, if only for a short time, much of the ugliness and hate that we had to wade through the rest of the year. It was special, even supernatural. It was Christmas! And just for a season, everything became special, almost magical, and the human psyche with all its arrogance and self-centeredness was pushed into the background. That is, of course, except for the self-righteous Grinches out there.

Perhaps there are bigger issues to be concerned with. It seems to me that the ones who make the biggest noise about this issue are the least likely to show mercy on the lost, but instead are so wrapped up in their own self-righteousness that they have lost sight of the whole purpose of Christmas.

I wonder. Perhaps God allows us to make a mistake on the date so that He can show us in sparkling terms the love that He has for all humanity – the real meaning of Christmas.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: … Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”    (Matthew 23:23)

Merry Christmas to all (even the Grinches) from the Garris family.

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I’m sitting here in the cold early morning of the day after Christmas. Everyone is still sleeping; it’s quiet, dark and cold. The sugar plums have all been eaten, so I hope there is something pleasant dancing in their dreams. But I am here alone and wanted to send out this belated greeting to everyone.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Christmas is always magical for children and sometimes tiring for us old folks, but it has always been a special time set apart to honor the Savior. Now, I know that Jesus was not born on Christmas. He was born on the Feast of Tabernacles. (I wrote In_A_Stable last year ). Nevertheless, this is the season we have chosen for Christmas and all its trappings, and regardless how you feel about celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25th, I hope it has been good for you.

And I really do hope this New Year will be something momentous in your life.

I don’t subscribe to the false prophets who run around proclaiming to you that this will be “your year of victory”, or blessings, or prosperity, or deliverance, or whatever nonsense they think will get a rise out of you. Your year will be what you make it – either in the Lord or in the flesh. I don’t believe that God is running a lottery for those who do not seek His face. It is not a matter of luck, misdirected hope, cheap grace, or empty faith. The Lord will direct and open paths and opportunities to those who seek Him and choose to bury themselves in His Word and in prayer. You reap what you sow.

On that note, I hope you sow as much as you can this year. If it is true that we are fast approaching a culmination of things for this old world, then we need to consider a New Year’s resolution that spurs us to do things this year that we have been only thinking about up until now. Whether that means something for your family or breaking the constraining bonds of inaction to go out and do something for the Lord, this year may your best and possibly only chance. If not now, when?

“Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.” (Ecclesiastes 11:2)

I’m heading back out as soon as I can – not sure where, but I am going. And I could really use your support, but better yet, why don’t you come along? You say you can’t do it, but I’m telling you, yes, you can. You just have to make that first step. New Year’s resolutions only work when you actually act on them.

Do something different this year, something outrageous, something so far out of the box that it breaks all the restraints that are holding you back. Do something dangerous! Do something that requires you to bury yourself in God for your absolute safety and support. Cut everything that is holding you back into the dark folds of mediocrity.

If you don’t step off the ledge, you will never learn how to fly.

Brother Dale

 

BTW – if you are looking for a place to give a year-end tax-deductible donation, why not sponsor one of the orphans that came out of the Ladies of Hope?
Go to http://www.RevivalFire.org/Orphans.htm or Support Us.

 

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It’s Christmastime again.  I can’t believe that I’ve been saved for almost 45 years now and have been able to be part of so many real Christmases. christmastree

It wasn’t always so.  As a young man who refused to believe in such nonsense such as a god that I couldn’t see, feel, or touch, Christmas remained simply a time of tinsel, pretty lights, Thomas Kincaid settings, and presents that you couldn’t afford.  What a difference a simple prayer can make!

Over the years, I have heard all the reasons of why we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas – and I’m sure you’ve heard your share also.  Born in a desire for righteousness but nurtured in a sea of self-righteousness, the razor-sharp arguments contend for an elimination of anything that smacks of red and green hues.  The reasons are prolific.  Let’s see:

– Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th
-It’s a pagan holiday
-The Roman Catholics started it
-There’s a reference to the Christmas tree as an abomination in Isaiah
-The only gift giving in the Bible was when Herod cut off John the Baptist’s head
-Jesus never said to celebrate His birth; only His death.
etc., etc.

I got it. Really I do.  But aren’t there enough commandments in the Bible without having to make up some new ones?  Does it really make us more righteous to abstain from celebrating Christmas, or does it just make us seem like we’re more “enlightened” than everyone else?

After so many years, there is one thing that I point to that has impressed itself on me that trumps all of those seemingly theological intelligent objections.  I have noticed that every year about this time, there is a unique spirit of peace that descends upon the Earth like a softly fallen snow.  For this one short period of time each year, people feel something so very different than the rest of the year.  Grumpy old men find time to do something nice for others, people in a rush stop long enough to help strangers, strangers reach a sincere hand of friendship to people they’ve never had the time for before, and children open up in wide-eyed imaginations that are more wonderful than any other time in the year.

It’s Christmastime again.

I believe that God in all His loving mercy for mankind reaches down to touch humanity with a taste of the Love of God that we seem to be numb to the rest of the year, just as a reminder that He sent His only begotten Son as the ultimate Christmas gift to all men everywhere who would accept Him that they may be saved from their sins.  It’s a taste of what Heaven must be like, sent down from our Heavenly Father who would have all men to be saved.  A glimpse at what must be an eternal Christmastime.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas, from all of us, to all of you.

Dale and Cindy

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