To Include or Not to Include…Good Ole Saint Nick

My good friend’s husband is a pastor in the Caymans. He frequently posts to a blogsite. I found this one pretty interesting and timely. It’s called “Down with Santa Claus” I hope you will find it insightful. http://purechurch.blogspot.com/2007/12/down-with-santa-claus.html#links

Merry Christmas!

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Just Remember

So, I’m into my Christmas songs now – can you tell? Fred Hammond sings a song entitled “Just Remember.” It’s on his album released in 2001 – Fred Hammond Christmas – Just Remember. What I like about that song is that he talks about family gatherings and cheer but his main point is that we remember Who this whole day is about.

So many times, in so many ways, even as believers, we turn Christmas into something about us. It’s not about us. Our very existence has never been about us. We were created that we may give glory to the Father. That puts a few things in perspective. For example, I would love nothing more than to experience Christmas with my own family. I don’t have a husband yet and neither do I have kids, so that is an impossibility for me this Christmas. That does not give me license to now drag around saying “woe is me.” Instead, I have to put things into perspective and be thankful for the rich, plentious blessings that I do have. God has done soooo very much in my life. And, I don’t have any doubt. I know it is by His grace and mercy that I have everything that I do have.

I submit to you, as we approach Christmas, to Just Remember, that it’s not about you, neither is it about me. It’s not about any of us. It’s all about JESUS – the real reason for the season. So, come what may, just remember, that we are celebrating Him. Come, let us adore him!

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The Solid Rock

I have a song on my heart this morning. The lyrics are: my hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness/ I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand / all other ground is sinking sand. Do you know the song now? It’s the Solid Rock.

I think it’s pretty neat when I wake up with a song of worship on my heart. It sets the day for me and lets me know that come what may, everything is going to be alright. At this time of the year, it would seem that everything is going to be alright anyway – it’s the Christmas season. Yet, for me, it seems like I’m caring a lot of weight right now. (not just from the scales either! J) I see the move and attack of the enemy trying his best to rob people of their joy and keep them in bondage. He’s able to do that when we are off our game – so to speak. He can do that when we stray away from our solid foundation, Jesus Christ the Rock.

It reminds me of America’s favorite pastime. Baseball. When we are on the base, we are safe. When we run out – we are on our own – and we face the attack of the enemy. I know that we cannot stay grounded to one location. But, as Christians, as we travel, we have the luxury and option to take our “base” with us.

I encourage you all to take the Lord with you. Walk or dare I say, run, with Him. Keep pace with His plans for your life and I guarantee that although at times it may be tough, we will all be the better for it. Trust the Lord – build your hope on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. Wholly Lean on Him.

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Live in Peace

Albertina Walker sings a song “Please be patient with me. ” Some of the lyrics from that song are “Please be patient with me / God is not through with me yet / When God is through with me / I shall come forth, I shall come forth, I shall come forth as pure gold.” As children, my cousin and I would sing that song – mainly because we liked the beat. As I’ve matured, I see the spiritual application of that song.

We are to be patient with others knowing that God has an ultimate plan for each of our lives. This applies to the believers as well as the unbelievers. In fact, Paul urges in Romans 12: 17-21 a manner of patience with one another. He says:

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengenance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing though shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (KJV)

Despite what a person has done or is doing to you, we are to have a right relationship with that person – we are to be patient with them. If they are not talking right or doing the right thing, this does not give us license to join them in their wrongdoing. Instead, we are to pray for them and provide for them such that God be glorified. We are not to try to do things ourselves – you know we like to jump in and try to “handle” the situation when in all actuality, the situation is handling us. We are to give the situation over to the Lord and leave it there – even when we don’t understand it. Leave it with the Lord. Live in peace with one another and watch the Lord work out the situation, and when you emerge from whatever has been the source of frustration, YOU WILL COME FORTH AS PURE GOLD.

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Give the Gift of Faith

As a result of my past, I have had the most difficult time expressing my true emotions. It seems, that by the time I’m comfortable with saying how I really feel, I’m too late. And while this has been a repeat pattern in my life, I am still not able to speed up the process.

In prayer, I have asked the Lord to help me. And, I’ve gotten better. I’m still not “fast enough.” For the past few years, I’ve lived my life behind a fortified wall of protection. But, now, due to a particular interest and the effort of a single person, I’ve been living life outside of the wall. Now what?

I feel alone, vulnerable and exposed for all to see. I feel uncomfortable outside of the wall, but on some level, I feel better as well – free. What can I make of this jumble of emotions?

Right now, I do not have the answers. I quite frankly am not sure of what to do. And, so, in this time, I’m going to do the best thing that I can do. Pray and wait for an answer from the Lord. The Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion – therefore I have to find a way to silence these racing thoughts in my mind. The only way to do that is through utter submission to the will of my Father.

It seems that around every major holiday, there is an attack from my adversary. He always tries something so why I’m not aware and always caught off guard I’m not sure. I guess I need to open my eyes wider! But, now that I’m fully aware of what is going on, I’m determined to fight – on my knees – in prayer. Jesus came, lived, died and rose again so that I could have the access to the Father. I cannot think of a better gift to give Him for His birthday than to show Him my ever increasing faith. Times are emotionally tough for me right now, but I trust God. He is my hope, and my ultimate answer.

If you find yourself going through a bit of emotional roughness during this season, for whatever reason, I do pray that you will turn your eyes upon Jesus now. For He alone is worthy to be worshipped and adored. I pray that you will give Him the gift of your ever increasing faith.

Be Blessed!
Sanya

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Are you like Ahaz?

The Word from the Lord was so strong in Bible Study last night that I just had to share it with you today. I want you to be blessed just as I was! Here are my notes:

Go ahead, take a look at Isaiah Chapter 7. The quick synopsis is that King Ahaz was afraid. He was fearful because Syria and Ephraim were joined together against him. God sent Isaiah to tell Ahaz not to be afraid despite the plans of those plotting against him. Verse 7 says “Thus saith the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.” The prophet goes on to tell Ahaz “if ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.” The Lord goes on to tell Ahaz to ask for a sign and he would give it to him. But, Ahaz, poor Ahaz, would not do it. He was so fearful. He gave up the opportunity to ask the Lord for a sign because he was either trying to be pious or he really doubted the sent prophet Isaiah. (v12). You can read the rest for yourself. My comments today rest on these verses.

Fear is often made to be a result of weakness. In Ahaz’s case, he was a weak king. However, in our case, in our weakness, our fear should drive us to the Lord. Recall how some of us only come to the Lord when we don’t know what else to do about a situation. Fear drives us to the Lord so in that sense, it’s healthy.

This passage is about someone that is essentially caught between a rock and a hard place. Have you been there? I have. King Ahaz has. He is trying to decide what to do – should he get help from Assyria or rely on the Lord. He can see and touch the help from Assyria, but he cannot do that with the Lord. It becomes a faith issue. God tells King Ahaz not to get help from Assyria but instead to get it from the Lord. He alone knows what we have on our minds and we are to turn it loose. We are to turn those things over to the Lord. When, not if, but, when we have problems, the problem will not last – it will burn out – so we need to be about the business of giving the problem over to the Lord and letting Him work it out. Again – this requires our faith.

The problem with King Ahaz in this passage is that he could not get past the physical to see the spiritual. We need to stay in the realm of the spiritual – stay focused on the things of God! You cannot be a momentary Christian – at least, I don’t recommend it. There are consequences to bear when we fail to trust God. Afterall, without faith it is impossible to please God.

If you will not believe, surely you will not be established. If you will not be sure, you cannot be secure. Or, simply put, unsecure equals insecure.

God is depending on us to be FAITHFUL and represent Him in all that we are going through.
So, those are my notes from Bible Study last night. It is my prayer that we take a moment to re-examine our lives and make sure that our faith rests solely in Him, for He alone is worthy!

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Eight Grade Math

I was just surfing the web and I found this link and took the test. It is called Could You Pass Eight Grade Math. Loving the show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader” and often feeling that perhaps I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader (that was sooo long ago), I thought this quiz may be fun. In case you are wondering, I got a perfect score – 10 out of 10. I trust that you will too. If you take the quiz, be sure to post your results here. Come on’ – you can do it!

http://www.blogthings.com/couldyoupasseighthgrademathquiz

-sanya

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It’s Daily

And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23

There seems to be an issue facing believers. There is a movement afoot that suggests that there is no need to do much in the Christian life – God will do it for you – as long as you are faithful in delivering your tithes and offerings. But, the truth of the matter is, God will do for you exactly what He has already planned. Nothing more. Nothing less. He does not need to do more than He has planned because His plan for your life is perfect. He is not going to do less than His plan for your life because He will not violate His own nature. What He has for you is quite frankly, yours. To access what He has for you, you must first believe that He is.

Once you start down your own individual Christian journey, you will learn what it means to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him. It’s not that the Christian life is a cakewalk. Instead, you will go through things – some of those things may not be so pleasant – but therein lies an opportunity. God will test you to prove you and produce in you a testimony. So, please, do not fall into the misconception that the Christian life is a cakewalk. Instead, it takes determination. You must pick up your cross – every single day – and walk in the steps of your Savior. Follow Him.

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Peace is Available!

Whew! I’m back! What a trip. I have been in DC this week for a conference. I got there – felt sick…and it was cold. Snow Flurries cold. Today, when I left it was snowing. But, I felt decent – not great. But, in the midst of it all – sickness, cold weather, crowded security lines, rude passengers, delayed flights, long lines to de-ice the plane, – oh yeah, I was making a point – in the midst of it all, God rewarded me.

As the plane ascended above the fray of inclement weather, we cruised into some peaceful sky – which was very different from my arrival. On my arrival, the weather was – well, let’s say rough. Wind gusts of 40mph have a way of impeding your forward direction. Nevertheless, it was all good – hard landing and all. Talk about smacking a plane down on the runway! Today, once we reached our cruising altitude, it was lovely. It was peaceful. The thick fluffy clouds were like carpet and the peaceful blue sky with the sunset in the distance was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I took a picture with my cellphone camera. I hope that seeing this will remind you, as it did me, that peace is always available. We just have to look up!

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The Faithful

I was talking with my Grandfather not too long ago. I generally will talk to him a couple of times per week. Our “conversations” go like this…I doing all the talking and he does the listening. No surprise there right? Anyway, on this particular day, I was discussing how I felt about a particular subject. I felt that it was unfair for God to xyz or allow xyz. The tone of our conversation immediately changed. My Grandfather, who is always kind and loving, got very stern with me. He schooled me right then on the fact that we do not tell God how to be God. He is sovereignly in control of all things and His will is perfect – even if I do not understand it.

It was in that moment that two things occurred to me. First, I recognized what the Bible meant when it refers to the “fear of the Lord.” Secondly, I recognized that my own fear and reverence for God needed a shot in the arm! Now, let me straighten things out for you a little bit. I fear the Lord – He is, afterall, my creator. But, in talking with my Grandfather, he spoke as a man that has walked with the Lord for such a long time and has complete confidence in the Lord – all trust – no doubt. At the end of my journey – when I am somebody’s grandparent – will my testimony and devotion be as strong as my Grandfather’s? I pray so – if not even stronger!

The only way to get there is to start now by really giving God His due. It’s more than showing up on Sundays and for Bible Study and Church Conference etc etc. It’s more than the things we do before others. I’m discovering that it’s in the secret places that our faith and adoration grows. It’s in those quiet moments with the Creator God.

As you spend time with your Father in devotion and quiet time, will you take a moment to really explore Who He is – What He is like and why it’s so wonderful to be called His own? That’s what I plan to do. And, I believe that will make this wonderful path all the better – our faith will increase as our knowledge of Him increases.

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