Saint Patrick is remembered as the man who drove the snakes from Ireland. Each March 17th, the color green is worn with pride and various forms of celebration erupt in western Europe and America.
However, the real story of St. Patrick is one of a man on mission. Not a mission to drive out snakes and party but to bring the power of the gospel to his Irish captors. In the fifth century, as the Roman Empire was collapsing, Patrick was captured by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland from his native Britain. He was 16 and was entrapped in slavery. Six years later, he escaped and returned home. In all of this God was at work in his heart.
Whether you watch the Super Bowl or not this annual spectacle tells you a great deal about the world your children inhabit. Proverbs 7 speaks a father looking out his window at the culture around him. This father used the view from his window to instruct his son about the dangers of life. The window of your television can afford you the same opportunity and obligation.
The Christmas clean up is about done. But this does not mark the end of gift giving. Each morning the gift of Christ awaits you. Even more, this gift is one that God opens for you.
God is relentless in his pursuit to bring joy to your needy soul. He cannot be out given. No matter what circumstance you face, the unfailing love of God is constant. This love transcends the difficulties of daily life. Each morning the wonder of Christmas is yours again. This is not a gift that you have earned. So, don't require others to earn your love and your favor before you love them.
GROVE, OK (ANS - December 24, 2016) -- "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" -Isaiah 9:6 (NIV).
Are you ready for Christmas? I've been asked this question by friends, as well as those I meet at the grocery check-out, in the post office line and other public places where I'm waiting.
Children are also waiting. Waiting to see what's underneath the Christmas tree, wondering if they will receive the desires of their hearts. Time seems to stand still as they count down the days until Christmas.
But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. Luke 2:10-11
As I read the Scriptures, the ability to have joy is a gift. We may not always be "happy" with our circumstances, but we can have joy. Joy is a condition of our heart beyond the situations life may bring. It was "good news of great joy" the angels announced at the birth of Christ.
God is not impressed with what impresses people. Perhaps nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the incarnate life of his Son, Jesus. Christ's birth was that of a peasant and his death was that of a criminal. He was born in the company of animals in a stable. He died in the company of thieves on a cross stained with his blood. The political leaders of his country tried to murder him as a baby. But it was the religious leaders 33 years later who finally succeeded where Herod had failed. His family fled to Egypt when he was a toddler. His friends fled from him at his trial.
It is not politically correct to greet people by saying Merry Christmas. I get that. However, I prefer to be biblically faithful. So I don't say Merry Christmas as a greeting; I say it as a proclamation. The birth of Jesus Christ is not just a pleasant remembrance or an occasion for the giving of gifts. The birth of Christ literally means salvation for our entire planet and the people that God would rescue by his grace.
GROVE, OK (ANS – December 18, 2016) -- “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” -- John 1:12-13 (NIV).
Christmas gifts It’s a wonderful time of the year for some of us. Christmas lights and decor, yuletide songs and greetings and the smells associated with this holiday invite us to care, share and rejoice in the coming of the Christ child.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is taking on a packed Crusade schedule for 2017.
Calling the Gospel, "the most important message ever told to lost souls far and near," Franklin Graham spent much of 2016 sharing the hope of Christ with hundreds of thousands of people during the 50-state Decision America Tour.
There is a compelling reason to celebrate the Advent, but it has nothing to do with a particular country.
God's angels burst into the night sky to praise the birth of Christ. In Luke 2 we read how the sky erupted with the praise of the angels:
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Dear Father, it's busy in my life. Crowds are everywhere. My heart is busy, too many gifts, not enough money, not enough time. This month is supposed to be about you. But even at church I feel more busy than thankful for Christ. There are people to see, events to attend. All of this is supposed to be about Jesus, but it feels more like it's all about me. It's busy in my life.
LANSDALE, PA (ANS - December 9, 2016) -- How fast the year has flown by, and as I have reflected on it, I took the photographs off the piano so that I could decorate it for Christmas. But then I cringed as I noticed a charred mark on the paneling behind one of the photos. That black area reminded me of a Christmas when our home had been anything but peaceful.
My mother and stepfather were visiting. We had been trying to get along with them even though the relationship was strained. But on Christmas Eve the tension erupted into a bitter argument. I was distracted from saying things I would have later regretted by the smell of burning wood.
ALBUQEURQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS - December 4, 2016) -- It's that time of year: busyness. There's parties to attend, presents to purchase, programs and church events to concentrate on, and family and friends to host. There doesn't seem to be a dull moment during the holidays.
What's one to do in the midst of a busy and hectic schedule? Where do we find relief? Here are four P's to percolate.
Pray. The first thing every believer should do in busy times -- and in all times for that matter -- is pray. Prayer gives perspective. Pray gives precedence to God-above all the factors pulling for your attention. And though prayer doesn't change God, it will change you, reminding you that God is the real re
Your children know everything about you. They see when you are sleeping, they know when you have been good or bad, they know when you pout and when you shout. Your kids know all of this without your ever having to say a word. When you stumble and ask God for help - they learn. When you stumble and snap or make excuses - they learn from that, too. If you value your relationship with God above all else, your children will know that as well.
QUITO, ECUADOR (ANS - November 28, 2016) -- 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, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
I saw an interesting sign in Atlanta a few weeks ago. It was out front of a lot where they were going to sell Christmas trees, and it said, "Without a traditional tree, it's not Christmas."