Christmas brings up different images in our hearts and minds. To some it is about Santa Claus, reindeer, and presents. To others it is about friends, family, and giving. There are also folks who do not have good memories about the holiday season because of abuse and a bad home life.
Matthew and Luke give the accounts of the birth of Christ. His birth was prophesied in Micah 5:2, and we are told that He would be born in Bethlehem. Isaiah 7:14 tells us that He would be born of a virgin and would be called Immanuel. Matthew 1:23 quotes this verse and adds that His name means “God with us.”
Luke gives details about Mary being chosen by God to bear the Christ Child. He shares the announcement to the shepherds and how they went to see the Saviour. The angel told the shepherds that his tidings were good and of great joy to all the people.
As we contemplate the birth of Jesus, we should be lost in wonder. God became man. The Word became flesh and dwelled among us. The sad thing is that when He came to His own, they did not receive Him. That is still true today. There are millions of people in our world who ignore Him or flat out reject Him.
Jesus lived a sinless life, worked miracles, and demonstrated compassion on the multitudes. In spite of that, He was despised and rejected by men.
This Christmas, please take some time to reflect on Jesus, the precious gift of God. He was born to die. He died to satisfy the righteous demands of the Holy God. As He hung on the cross, He said, “It is finished.” Sin was paid for, and God was satisfied. Now He offers us eternal life when we acknowledge our sin, turn from it, and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
If you do not know Him, today is a great time to trust in Him. If you do know Him, please share Him with others during this Christmas season.
When November rolls around each year, we look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving. In 2020 many around the world will be uncertain whether they can celebrate with friends and family. Sadly, we are in a pandemic.
Scripture has much to say about being thankful. What does it actually mean to be thankful? It is an expression of gratitude or joyfulness to someone. The Word of God tells us multiple times to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. As believers, we should always be expressing our gratitude to God. He is our Creator, Provider, Redeemer, Saviour, Lord, Shepherd, Friend, and so much more. He deserves our thanks.
Jesus gave thanks to the Father before He distributed the loaves and fish to the disciples to give to the crowd. He expressed thanks to God when initiating communion with the disciples.
In the New Testament, Paul was thankful for the saints in the local churches (Phil. 1:3; Eph. 1:16). Colossians 3:15 tells us to “let the peace of God rule in [our] hearts, . . . and be thankful.” First Thessalonians 5:18 says we should be thankful in all things. Why should we be thankful in all things? Because God has allowed things in our lives (good and bad) to conform us to the image of His Son.
Let’s make a special effort to be thankful this month, even in the midst of trying times. He wants us to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name” (Ps. 100:4).
Trials, troubles, and tragedy—if we live long enough, we will most likely encounter one or more of these situations in our life. How will we respond?
Thankfully, we have God’s Word to turn to. Let’s take a few minutes and see what God has to say about peace when we experience difficulties.
- THE SOURCE OF PEACE – The source is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Romans 5:1, Paul tells us that when we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God. That is the starting point. When we acknowledge our sin, repent, and trust Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are declared righteous before God. The result is peace. Ephesians 2:14 says that “he [Christ] is our peace.” In John 14:27 and 16:33, Jesus tells us that He gives us His peace. The apostle Paul lists peace as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.
- THE BEGINNING OF PEACE – It begins at salvation (Rom. 5:1). Thirty-six times in the New Testament grace and peace are mentioned together. How do we receive grace? God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (I Pet. 5:5). When we acknowledge our sin, we are humbled.
- THE LEVELS OF PEACE –It is a gift. God blesses us with peace (Ps. 29:11).
- It is a gift. God blesses us with peace (Ps. 29:11).
- It involves personal responsibility. We are to seek it (I Pet. 3:11).
- It is perfect or complete when we fix our mind on the Lord and trust Him (Isa. 26:3).
- It should call the shots, or rule, our life. To rule means to umpire or decide (Col. 3:15).
- It is experienced if we love God’s Word (Ps. 119:165).
- It is based on being spiritually minded (Rom. 8:6).
- It surpasses understanding and involves prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. Paul wrote these inspiring words from a prison cell (Phil. 4:6-7).
May the Lord help us all to experience this kind of peace.
We often hear people expressing that they are offended about certain things happening in our world today. Everyone is offended by someone or something. That is part of our human nature. In all of these discussions it is amazing that many people don’t seem to care whether God is offended by anything.
We find the word “abomination” in Scripture quite often. There are a few Hebrew and Greek words translated “abomination.” Sometimes it means something that stinks or is loathsome. It can also mean something that brings resentment or indignation. Often the word is tied to anything having to do with idolatry. There are a number of things that God detests or that offend His holy character.
The writer of Proverbs says that dishonesty is an abomination to God. See Proverbs 11:1 and 20:10, 23.
As believers, we should understand that we serve a merciful and forgiving God, but He is also holy and will not tolerate sin. Look at Proverbs 6:16-19. God detests pride, lying, shedding innocent blood, devising wicked imaginations, running to mischief (talking about evil), being a false witness, and sowing discord among brethren.
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 both describe that sexual intimacy must be between a man and a woman. God says, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” Check out Genesis 19.
In Deuteronomy 22:5, God says that if men are trying to look like women and women are trying to look like men, it is an abomination.
May we be more concerned about offending the holy God than about offending merely people.
July 8, 2020
In recent months it seems like our world is falling apart. It is important as God’s children that we remember what we are told in God’s Word. We are instructed to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Why is that important?
Because that is how the world will know we are truly His disciples. Thirteen times we are instructed to love one another. In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
When we love each other with self-sacrificial love (agape love), we should be unified. In Psalm 133:1 it says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
Unity is oneness. It is not uniformity. There are various opinions about church government, end times, modes of baptism and various themes in scripture. We need to focus on what we agree about is scripture, not what we disagree about. We agree on the inspiration of scripture, the virgin birth and deity of Christ, salvation, and the basic fundamentals of the faith.
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:3-6
Let’s work on these truths together and show the world that Jesus is real.
June 10, 2020
Last week we had a meeting with our employees. The shutdown of businesses for weeks impacted our sales. Churches were closed and, as a result, Sunday school also was not available unless churches had online capabilities. These truly are unprecedented times. How should we respond as believers in Christ? We must not lose our focus. I shared with our working family several verses.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the SCRIPTURES might have HOPE” (Romans 15:4). Hope in the scriptures is not wishful thinking, but a confident expectation. The word “hope” is used 129 times in the Bible.
“Now the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in HOPE, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13. That is my prayer for each employee, each customer, and each person in our world. This cannot happen if people do not know Jesus Christ. That is part of our purpose here at Union Gospel Press. We want people to know Jesus and grow in their relationship with Him.
During these troublesome times, make sure you stay close to Him and spend some extra time in His Word and grow in your HOPE.