Memories

Everything in life revolves around remembering things in one way or another. We remember birthdays and anniversaries and holidays and what to pick up at the grocery, most of the time. What about the people who have lost so much already this year, will we remember them and their sacrifice? Those who have gone to war, not for the first deployment or the second but the third or fourth. What about those who have gone for their last deployment, the ones who won’t be coming home? Will we remember them and pray for their families?

There are so many in the military of our country who have given so much of themselves and their families have given a lot as well. Some have even given their lives for their country and the job that they held as military men and women. Does our country, our “President” consider their honor and dignity enough? Does he honor them and help their families without asking for anything in return because they have already given enough?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. I do know that many of our men and women in service have given more than their fair share and our government should be proud to take care of them no matter what it costs. Many from earlier wars are still scarred in ways that we will never understand. Many have taken their lives and left their families to pick up the pieces because they couldn’t make sense of it all because of PTSD.

I have had and may still have symptoms of this illness even though I have never been to war. You see, firefighters, policemen, paramedics and many others suffer from it too. But no one ever hears about us because we are not on the “front lines”, we are not coming home with our legs blown off or our arms missing. Our injuries are mental in nature because we see horrific scenes at shootings, at wrecks, at house fires. We see what happens when a friend or family member decides to murder the rest of the family. We see the children of people who drive drunk with their kids in the car and have to pick up their children to take them to the funeral home, while mom or dad is recuperating from a cut on the head that they don’t remember getting.

The only real cure for this illness is time and the love of God. He is the only one who is capable to repairing and healing a damaged mind which was torn by these images. Many in public service like I was never admit to having this. People just ignore it and go on with their lives not knowing what will happen, but living with the consequences just the same.

Our society doesn’t understand that some of the most horrifying crimes are committed by close family members. Sometimes the reason behind that may be a mental problem that wasn’t addressed or even admitted to anyone. So nobody knew that it was there until it was too late.

God can heal all of the wounds that we have, but we have to be willing to admit that we have a problem and come to Him for help. We have to give our lives to Jesus and let His healing power come over us and through us so that the healing can begin. If we don’t do that, we will always have problems that we can’t identify, or won’t.

Many times, some of these same mental problems are caused by our own families. In broken homes, children of divorced parents witness what happens when their parents go separate ways. There is resentment, anger, frustration, fear, guilt, doubt, blame and all of this is sometimes piled on a child who is not even old enough to know what they are. Later on the child feels and understands a little but will blame themselves for the break-up of the family, until they are much older.

Sometimes we never get past the hurt and all of the emotional baggage that comes from a divorce and will carry it with them the rest of their lives. Still, God is the only One who can really help. Turning to Jesus and giving the frustration and all of the problems that you have grown up with will help and He will make a difference in your life and in your family’s life too.

The memories that we have to live with and grow with sometimes cause problems but those memories can also bring us hope and peace. Memories of Christmas and family. Memories of good times that our family has had and memories of the tragedies that we have had to endure as well. Give your life to Christ and let Him heal the hurt and all of the baggage that has come with it. He will make a huge difference in your life and in the lives of others.

 

Is Christ in your Christmas?

In our world and the culture that we live in, we tend to look at this time of year as a “commercial” time. We see all of the advertisements and sales of all kinds from Black Friday on to Christmas Eve and yet no one seems to notice the real reason for Christmas.

Now I am not going to tell you that Jesus was born on Christmas Day because we don’t know the exact date of His birth. It was in the fall of the year but December or the month which coincides with it on the Jewish calendar is cold and wet and I don’t think that the story of His birth reflects that type of weather.

Christ is the reason for this season and we have all heard it whether we agree with it or not. Our culture is rejecting anything that has to do with Jesus at this time or at any other time of year but He is still Lord. So, what do we do with Jesus? What should we do with Christ?

Allow Him into our celebration of this time of year and into our hearts! This really is the only choice that makes sense but those who don’t want to believe will still disagree with that choice. Our choices in life dictate the direction of our lives, whether you decide to believe this or not really doesn’t make any difference.

Once the direction of your life has been chosen, consciously or not, your destination coincides with that road that you are on whether good or bad. The same is true about the religion that you follow and where it will take you. You could follow “heavy metal” although it wouldn’t do much for you spiritually. You could choose Scientology but that won’t get you much either.

The only religion which has stood the test of time is Christianity. To be like Christ you must follow His example and we must allow Him into our heart and our life. There also has to be a change in your character consistent with your faith in Him. Many people don’t want this change. They don’t believe that it will or can change them. Many just don’t want to change and that is fine, but what will you tell God when He asks you “What did you do with my Son?”?

The answer to that question is what seals your eternal destiny. It is not the acts that you have committed in your life, though they will testify against you too. Eternity rests on the answer to just one question: “Did you allow Jesus into your life and your heart?”. What you did before doesn’t matter. If you allowed Him into your heart, everything that you do afterward does matter, because those things are supposed to be done for Him and His glory.

Christmas means….

 

Scripture: Luke 2: 8-20

 

In our culture today what does this time of year mean? To some it means that their business may end the year with a little money in the bank. To others it means that they hope they will get what they want for Christmas from Santa. What about in countries which are less fortunate than we are?

What about the children in Korea with their eyes so big and bright, what does this time of year mean to them? In North Korea, they may be looking for food and hoping they will have a meal tonight. In South Korea, where there are some churches and a fairly robust economy, they may be celebrating Jesus’ birth just like we do.

I wonder also about those who live in Africa. In places like Zimbabwe where the annual income may be fifty dollars, where people live in huts and never see shopping malls or a Christmas tree, what do they think of this time of year that is celebrated in most countries?

How about the Muslim countries, where Christmas is not celebrated at all?

I am sure it means different things to different people depending on their culture and their beliefs.

 

Do we forget about Jesus at this time of year? I have heard of people who set an extra place at the table for Him because it is His birthday that we celebrate. It isn’t our birthday but it is the Lord’s birthday and this is a time to remember Him and why He came.

Luke 2: 8-20

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told.

The announcement that went out to the earth about God’s Son being born went to the shepherds, not the temple, not the high priest. Why do you think God went to the outcasts of society to announce the birth of His Son? I think it is because they would receive the news with humble hearts and with willing spirits. They were chosen by God and told the news by a multitude of angels, they had to feel honored even if society said they didn’t deserve honor.

Shepherds were considered unclean and not allowed to participate in any worship service, even though they took care of the animals which were used as sacrifices.

What about today? How do we receive the news of Jesus and His sacrifice for us? Do we humbly bow and thank Him and ask Him to come into our lives and be near to us every day? I am sure that is what He wants of us but not just on holidays or at certain times of the year, or when things are going bad. Jesus wants us to be near to Him as He is with us every day and in all things, great and small in our lives.

Doesn’t He deserve our respect and praise? For all the things that God has done for us through Jesus and through His work on the cross the least that we owe Him is our life in service to Him. Is there any higher calling than to be called a “child of God”? I don’t think so and I don’t believe any of you think that either.

So, what are we to do when we realize who we are in relation to Him? Do we become missionaries? Yes, in a manner of speaking we are supposed to be just that, because Jesus told us to be the light of the world and to take the gospel to all people. We can do that every day while we are working, or at a restaurant or a ball game. We do it by our life and our witness to others and when His Spirit is working through you they will see it and recognize it.

Getting back to the shepherds and what they saw and did; they saw the glory of the Lord shining from those angels who were proclaiming that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem. In the darkness of the Judean hills the light must have been breathtaking, like spot-lights shining all around them. Today with the technology that we have lights in the sky wouldn’t be a big deal, but these were angels and they were SINGING and there were no lights at that time except for a fire or a candle so the glory coming from them would’ve been much brighter than they were used to.

Can you imagine how those shepherds felt? “What is this from God? Why is He telling us this?” They might have been thinking those things but they listened to the message and obeyed. They went to Bethlehem and found the Christ child and worshiped Him.

This is all that we are called to do in our lives but we are to do more than just worship. We are called to be ministers and teachers about our faith and why we have the faith that we have. We are to be the voice of Jesus and his hands and feet in a world that is rejecting Him now and in the future, until we are taken to be with Him.

Our Savior was born in the most humble of circumstances and His birth was announced not to kings or priests but the shepherds. He was a King at birth and still is today and yet people don’t acknowledge His kingship over their lives even if they are Christians. The crown that He wore on earth was one of pain and made from thorns, the one that He wears now is gold and is given to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Mighty Counselor, the Prince of Peace.

He is our Savior and the reason for the season and we need to humble ourselves and pray and seek Him every day. Make it a habit to do this and you will be better for it and you will be more like Him in your walk with Him.