Time for God

“Yeah! Grandpa is here.” Grandpa had traveled many miles to finally reach the home of his only grandchildren, Robby, Luis and Mary. He loved them greatly and was constantly calling to speak to them. But now he had actually come. He was in their home. What a magical day. They all gave grandpa a big hug and then grandpa just collapsed into the sofa. He was so tired from the trip. He began to tell wondrous stories of his journey, through valleys and up mountains. How could he have endured such a journey at his age? He was truly a remarkable man. Now Mary had found her way to the kitchen and was preparing some mighty fine sandwiches for all. While she worked diligently in the kitchen she could just barely hear the stories. She thought “this is not fair at all”. After a couple of minutes she could endure it no more. She stormed into the living room and demanded the boys to help out. For a moment there was silence. Then Grandpa spoke, “My dear why don’t you come here and sit right beside me. Don’t you know I miss you? Everything else can wait.”

Often even the most hardworking among us can get our priorities mixed up. Mary got caught up in her many responsibilities but forgot that this moment was special because grandpa had come.

In the life of Jesus we see similar events unfold when He visits the house of Mary and Martha. (Luke 10:38-42) Martha was busy in the kitchen preparing all that the guest would need. But Mary knew that a visit from Jesus was like nothing else and there would be time for work later. She listened intensely for every word from the Master, but Martha busied herself with other responsibilities. Martha soon was frustrated with her sister and asked Jesus to encourage her sister Mary to help her. Jesus did quite the opposite and defended Mary. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

In our lives we too can occupy ourselves with activities that at the time seem worthy of our attention; possibly work, school or some other responsibility, but the people in our lives should not be forgotten. The times we spend with loved ones are essential and are the memories that we want to make. It is the stuff that makes life worth living. The most important person in our life should be God himself.

Our relationship with him will take time. I am not suggesting we quit our jobs and move into a monastery, but we all need to reach a happy balance, where there is ample time for work, family, friends and most importantly God. Have we all taken some time to pray and read our bible today? Is a visit to our local church part of our schedule this week? The more we put into a relationship the more we will get out of it. Jesus reminds us of the power of our relationship with Him. He said in John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

 

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Jesus gets the leftovers

and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:7

When Jesus came into this world there was no room for Him in the Inn.  He was born where animals are kept. (Luke 2:7) He was given the leftovers. He had come down from heaven on a rescue mission, where the great idea was for Him to die. There was no escape clause. He was sentenced to die brutally and without mercy, for the love that God has for us. Yet he was given no priority. There He lay where unsightly and smelly animals are kept out of the way.

Jesus preached the good news, went from place to place healing, casting out demons, forgiving sin, counseling, and changing lives.  However he was never given a big church to pastor, a book contract or offered a big Pastoral home, Jesus actually referred to himself as homeless.(Matthew 8:20)

He fed thousands on more than one occasion, raised the dead, walked on water and stilled the storm with a word. But the big network deal for a spectacular show never came. It would have been amazing. It surely would have been a hit.

He was the creator and this world did not recognize him. (John 1:10) He was the promised Messiah to God’s chosen people. He made sure to reach out to them first. (John 1:11) But they rejected him and begged for Him to be crucified. (Luke 23:21)

Jesus is knocking on the door of countless lives. He is the solution for the pain and depression. He is the solution for the empty heart and the troubled mind. But so many still do not give Him a second thought.

Many others like me owe Him everything we have. Including all the hope and peace and joy in our lives. He has saved us! But we often leave him the leftovers. The shopping has been done. The calls have been made. Did we check our email? Good, we took care of that. Dinner is made, and everyone has their Christmas gift. Maybe now we can take some time for our Lord and Savior.  At least He is no longer with the smelly animals in the manger.

More articles on Christmas from bibleaid!

Giving thanks is a priority

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights ….James 1:17

There were ten lepers living outside society. They were unwanted, hopeless and without anyone to care for them. There was no medical attention or solution. They were waiting for death. Then he came by, Jesus, the great prophet from Nazareth. Some called him a teacher; others said he was just the son of that carpenter. Still others said he was the anointed one, the son of God, the Messiah. In any case there were stories of great miracles. Raising the dead, calming the storms and casting out demons were among the list of incredible miracles. If these were true then this man could not be just an ordinary man.

Then it was heard, in desperation they shouted “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Luke 19:13) This man spoke but a few words “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” (Luke 19:14) They turned in obedience to follow his directions and they were healed. This terrible disease that had been affecting them for some time now was completely gone.

Then only one came back to thank Jesus. They had all experienced a life changing miracle. It cost them nothing but a little faith. Yet they did not take out the time to say thanks. Did they lack an attitude of gratitude?

There are three priceless gifts, our lives, our salvation and our eternal hope. In addition to these three there are countless more we can each add to our list of gifts. To God we must be forever grateful. He is worthy of our constant praise for what he has given us. Let us not be like the nine that did not make time to thank their healer. Let us be like the one who made it his priority to first say thanks. No doubt there are many loved ones he could have shared this great news with first. He could have sought out the approval of the priest first. He could have gone out to celebrate. But all of these paled in importance to his first act, which was to simply say thanks.

Regardless of the holiday an attitude of gratitude should always be present. We should always be prepared to offer praise to our Lord and savior. Let us make a priority of saying thanks to all those who deserve to hear it, especially our God!

Better than shiny new toys

..an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 1Peter 1: 4

I know it’s not Christmas, but I can’t help it I’m already in the holiday spirit. ….

What an incredible feeling it was, waking up that Christmas morning and running over to the Christmas tree. I remember seeing it, in its entire splendor, surrounded by gifts, beautifully wrapped in green, red, gold and silver. They were decorated with bows and ribbons, just begging to be opened. I looked through them and found it, a gift with my name on it. Quickly I tore off the wrapping and to my delight; it was a shiny brand new toy. I spent the entire day playing with it and much of that week. However, as time passed, both the shine and the importance of the toy faded away. Fortunately there was always another shiny brand new toy.

As I got older, each toy was more expensive, complicated and of higher technology than the last one. G.I. Joe’s and batmen were replaced with game systems and they were replaced with cameras, computers and cars. However, just as before they faded in importance and had to be replaced. But there have been better gifts than these.

Gifts that never fade and never lose importance, the love of family and friends, the genuine appreciation from someone we’ve helped and the incredible satisfaction of completing a mission are much finer gifts. Yet there is still more.

There are gifts that will last eternity, such as the peace and joy that can only come from knowing Christ, learning to depend and trust in Him. The freedom we experience upon being forgiven, relieved of guilt, and the hope that we attain in realizing the promise of eternal life, are priceless and greater than any gift. This is why Jesus gave us a sincere and loving advice “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Here Christ is promising that all the things we need, will be provided by Him, if we can make living for God our greatest priority.

It’s not easy to set aside all things to make God number one in our lives, but the value of its reward cannot be measured. Often tempted by need or desire we make a priority of things that do not last, money, position, fame or those shiny new toys. But our desire should be for those gifts that do not fade or loose importance and last for eternity.

To go to church or not?

Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Psalm 84:4

It was Wednesday evening, and after a long day of work I was tired. However, it was time to head over to rehearsal. Why was I going? Was it to please the chorus director, my sister? Was it so that I could be heard? Did the chorus need me? The answer to the last three questions were no, no, and no. Why was I going?

I was going to worship God! I fought with myself. “Sammy you can worship God at home. You don’t have to go to church.” There was just one problem with that argument. If I stood home I wasn’t going to worship God.

The distractions that we are bombarded with when we are home are tremendous. We have all sorts of entertainment, chores and of course the demands of other people. Perhaps our favorite distraction is the bed or sofa. Some place to just lay back and rest, a power nap that last 2 hours. But didn’t we say we would worship God.

In Hebrews 10:25, we are encouraged to go to church where the brethren can motivate each other. Psalm 84:4 mentions that those who dwell in God’s house are blessed because they are forever praising God. David counted it a blessing to be in God’s house forever (Psalm 23:6). It is in church where we can most freely worship God and put aside everything else this world has.

The next time we find ourselves in a battle with ourselves, as to whether we should go to church or not, we’ll just grab our car keys and head straight out the door. We won’t look back and we won’t stop until we have safely arrived at the temple, where we will praise our God and thank Him for the refuge that is our church.

What shall we do with Jesus?

And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.  And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. Matthew 27:28-31

Roman soldiers took the creator of the universe and stripped Him of all his clothes. Then they put a red robe on him. They put a crown of thorns on his head and mocked him. They called him the king of the Jews. Then they took a reed and beat him over the head. They spat upon him and then took Him to be crucified. These soldiers of Rome had no idea who was in their presence, the almighty and holy God, the eternal creator of the universe. At any moment he could have brought their lives to an end or even worst reversed roles with them. But he chose to show mercy and endure.

Makes me wonder how our treatment of Jesus has changed. Surely many treat Him as he rightfully deserves. They worship and adore Him. They faithfully serve Him and sacrifice to please Him. Yet many others do not. Some are still mocking. They find joy in making fun of their creator. They make fun of Him who was sinless but carried all our sins, He who quietly gave his life so that all might live.

Some deny He ever existed, even in the face of massive historical evidence. They would rather pretend that the man who started a massive revolution that would overturn Roman society completely, never walked in Galilee.

Others belittle who he was. To them he was a fine teacher, with brilliant ideas about how we should treat each other, but in doing so they indirectly call him a liar or a lunatic, since He claimed to be the messiah and the son of God. They also belittle his death, turning his sacrifice into nothing more than a sad case of Roman injustice.

For some of us Jesus is just an afterthought. After the work day is done, the chores are complete, errands are run, and facebook time is over, then we remember to pray a few words in hopes of getting something from our Lord.

Perhaps it is time to reconsider how we are treating our Lord. We can only hope he is still saying Father forgive them for they know not what they do. But here’s a scary thought, perhaps our generation doesn’t get a free pass, because we do know, don’t we?

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