A New Year’s Message For You

Rejoice always (in good times and bad), pray without ceasing, and give thanks to God in all circumstances.

We are about to embark on a new year with 925,600 minutes of time at our disposal.  Ephesians 5:15-17 tells us to look carefully how we walk, not as the unwise but as the wise, making the best use of our time.

Time is perhaps our must precious gift.  The way we use time, and the people we choose to spend our time with is important.

Conceivably, for someone we know or for even ourselves, the 925,600 minutes of time allocated for this year will not be used, for this life on earth will end.   

Therefore, let us take the wise council of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  which tells us to do these three things with our time: Rejoice always (in good times and bad), pray without ceasing, and  give thanks to God in all circumstances.

Happy New Year!

Do You Really Know The Real Reason for The Season?

Everything about Jesus from His conception to His virgin birth to His life, to His teachings and His death on the cross. Has been about your life, your happiness and your salvation.

As we close out this celebration of our dear savior’s birth; many of us have proclaim boldly during Avant and perhaps even today that “Jesus is the reason for the season!”

However, on this Christmas night let me suggest something different.  You are the reason for the season.

Just consider, everything about Jesus from His conception to His virgin birth to His life, to His teachings and His death on the cross.  Has been about your life, your happiness and your salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but will have eternal life.   John 3:16

Therefore, tonight as you go off to sleep please consider this: While Jesus is the cause for the season the real reason God created the season is for you.

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

God created the season for you.

Yes, you are the real reason for the season.

What a powerful gift of Love from God. 

– Merry Christmas

Christmastime: Is It Really a Racket?

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.

A Racket: An illegal or dishonest scheme for obtaining money, power, position or fame.

In the classic holiday television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the venerable Peanuts Character, Charlie Brown is struggling to find the true meaning of Christmas.

In his struggles, Charlie Brown consults the noted “expert” Lucy Van Pelt who provides this “sage” advice about the meaning of Christmas:

“Look Charlie, let’s face it.  We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket.  It’s run by a big eastern syndicate, you know.”

For many, the Christmas Season – with its financial pressures, over commercialization, and personal depression – really does seem like a racket.

Christmastime can seem like a racket, even for those of us who are professed followers of Jesus.

Look at the activities in our churches – we load the season with an entire year of “good works,” from concerts, to nursing home visits, to dinners and food drives.

With all these activities, we Christians often turn Christmastime into a racket, as the most wonderful time of the year becomes the most hectic time of the year, all in our zeal to “honor Jesus.”

However, before I get accused of being a Grinch, I just ask you to consider this: Christmastime really is a racket.

Why?

Because

  • All the problems influenced by Christmastime
  • All the pressures influenced by Christmastime
  • All the pleasures influenced by Christmastime

Christmastime is a racket because it reminds us why we need Jesus.   

God sent Jesus to live among us and to show us:

How to overcome the racket of commercialization that can overwhelm our lives.

God sent Jesus to live among us and to show us:

How to value the immigrate, the refugee, the enslaved, the poor, the orphan and all who are living in rackets at the margins of life.

God sent Jesus to live among us and to show us:

How to engage God in prayer, as we seek refuge from our problems, and intersession for our family, friends and neighbors who are caught in rackets of their own lives.    

Above all, God sent Jesus – born in a stable, so He could die on a cross to give us salvation from the racket of sin.

The prophet Isaiah, provides the real “sage” advice about the meaning of Christmas.   

“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)

Yep, Lucy was right; Christmastime is a racket.

  • Christmastime with all its glory
  • Christmastime with all its grandeur
  • Christmastime with all its grief

Christmastime is a racket, but it reminds us why we need Jesus.

Merry Christmas and remember that Jesus is reason for the season!

Godspeed, John Glenn

John Glenn lived a life of duty, honor and responsibility.

Growing up in a small town in the “Georgia Outback” I had a lot of time on my hands to read and study up on things.

In the discovery of reading, I developed heroes in the things that captured

my interest and imagination.  In baseball my hero was Hank Aaron, in football my hero was Jim Brown, in politics my hero was Barbara Jordan, in religion my hero was Billy Graham and in space flight my hero was John Glenn.

On February 20, 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.  While I was only four at the time, the launch of his rocket is one of my most vivid memories.  I recall watching it as I sat on my father’s lap.

Later, my reading revealed just how high the stakes were when John Glenn lifted off at 9:47 AM.

  • The launch took place in a tense time when the United States sought supremacy over the Soviet Union in the space race.
  • The launch took place after 11 delays because of bad weather, or faulty equipment.
  • The launch took place even though Glenn’s Friendship 7 capsule set on top of a rocket that had failed in 40 percent of its test flights.

Scott Carpenter, fellow astronaut and capsule communicator for the flight, echoed the hopes of the nation when he said at liftoff, “Godspeed John Glenn.”

However, I suspect that this was not the first-time God’s speed had been with John Glenn.  He flew 149 combat missions in two wars and was a test pilot in the 1950s, when faster-than-sound airplanes often veered out of control and crashed in smoking heaps.

This was not the last-time that God’s speed would be with John Glenn.  For at age 77 – 36 years’ after the Friendship 7 Flight – John Glenn became the oldest person ever to go into space.  As he was part of a 9-day Discovery Space Shuttle Mission to the International Space Station in 1998.

Between the space flights, John Glenn built a successful career in business, served four terms as a United States Senator from Ohio, and raised two children as part of a strong and enduring 73-year marriage to his wife Annie.

John Herschel Glenn Jr. died on Thursday, December 8, 2016 at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio.   At 95, he was the last of the Mercury Seven Astronauts.  They were a collection of military pilots, turned modern day explorers, who Author Tom Wolf dubbed as having the “right stuff.”

A member of the United States Marine John Glenn rose to the rank of Colonel.  The prayer of the Marine corps says in part:

“Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance… and if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.”

John Glenn lived a life of duty, honor and responsibility.  However, as all of us do, he sometimes missed the mark.  He was defeated in his run for the Senate in 1964 and 1970, and had a failed bid for the Presidency in 1984.  Nevertheless, Paul’s testimony in 2nd Timothy 4:7 can be applied to John Glenn’s life because he “fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith.”

Godspeed, John Glenn!

Source material for this post came from: The Washington Post

December 7, 1941: A Day That Will Live In Infinity

War is horrific, war is destructive, war kills people and war affects lives.

The silence of the morning was broken with the exploding sound of bombs.

The clearness of the sky became colored in the bright reds of fire and the darken black of smoke.The lives of countless soldiers, sailors, and citizens were forever changed as they survived, or were injured or died on December 7 1941, a day that will live in infinity.

Seventy-Five Years has passed since the American naval fleet was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. However, as we pause to commemorate this day let us not forget the cost of war.

In the years since Pearl Harbor America has fought in seven wars with our best and brightest paying the ultimate price.   

World War II – 405,399

Korea – 54,246

Vietnam – 58,209

Operation Desert Storm – 284

The War in Iraq – 7,222

The War in Afghanistan – 20,049

Regardless of how the war is started, either when America was attacked as it was on December 7, 1941 in Honolulu.  Or when American is attacking as it was on March 20, 2003 in Baghdad.

War is horrific, war is destructive, war kills people and war affects lives.   

2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded on

December 7, 1941.  A day that will live in infinity, as described by President Franklin Roosevelt as he spoke to the Congress asking for a delectation of war against Japan.     

The dead and injured came from all walks of life and from all over the nation.  Including my uncle, a young navy seaman from Gray, Georgia named William Bland.   

As this day comes to a close, I hope that everyone reading this post will take a moment before going to bed to remember what happened seventy-five years ago on this day.  December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infinity.

Knowing What Mary Knew

In a passage of scripture known as Mary’s Song of Praise (Luke 1: 46-56), the mother of Jesus tells the world that she knows the importance of the baby boy she is carrying,

One of my favorite songs of the Advent season is Mary Did You Know?  Written by Lamont Savory, Buddy Greene, and Mark Lowry, this wonderful song proposes to remind, or perhaps even tell Mary about the child that she has delivered.   

Scripture reveals that Mary knew all along that her baby boy would walk on water, give sight to the blind, make the death hear and the dead live again.

Shortly after being told by the angel of her divine pregnancy, Mary travels to Judah to see her cousin Elizabeth, who also was with child.  When Mary greets Elizabeth, the child in her – who grows up to become John the Baptist – jumps for joy.  Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and exclaims to Mary, “Bless are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42, NRSV).

Mary is deeply moved by these amazing encounters – first with the angel and then with her cousin Elizabeth. Mary’s response can’t be contained in normal prose; her noble soul overflows in a song of praise.

In a passage of scripture known as Mary’s Song of Praise (Luke 1: 46-56), the mother of Jesus tells the world that she knows the importance of the baby boy she is carrying, when she says:

“I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened –
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten.”

Mary knew the importance of her baby!

However, the question is, “During this busy Christmas season, with shopping and presents, holiday parties and the like, do we know what Mary knew?”

Do we know the importance of Mary’s baby?