Tuesday, December 6, 2016

1. Remember the meaning of Christmas … Emanuel, God with us in the Christ Child … God is present with you. 2. Refocus on the birth of Christ … God’s greatest gift to us. 3. Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth and Old Testament passages about the coming Messiah. 4. Reclaim the wonder of the Biblical story. The shepherds were keeping watch at night when the angel appeared to them. Be on the lookout for God’s visit. 5. Rejoice and praise God for all the joy and power of the good news in your life. Mary worshipped God … shepherds praised God. 6. Reach out and love someone this Christmas … maybe a stranger, co-worker, family member, lost friend or someone that God sends your way. 7. Receive the peace of Christ and become a peacemaker in our chaotic world. ~ lifted from the online edition of Guideposts dated 12/3/14

There are times when I am stopped in my tracks by nothing more than the message being conveyed by an image. I have no idea who came up with that one but it's been circulating out on social media for the past couple of weeks. I ask you, does that not tell the story? Amen! and Amen!. Today is Tuesday, December 6, 2016, and I offer up a very warm greeting to one and all who happen to read today's blog. As many of you know, I have been teaching God's Word for over forty years. For the most part, the people I teach are seasoned believers who have a good foundation in knowing their Bible. Since Christmas Day falls on Sunday, we will have only one service that day, therefore, I will only be teaching three Sunday mornings this month. I always attempt to cover again, as if it were the first time, the Bible accounts that pertain to the coming into our world of God's one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This year, during our time together, I will be sharing in an interactive way the more than 40 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the life and times of our Savior. We will share in the reading of the actual prophecies from the Old Testament and then do the same as we read the texts where it reflects fulfillment in the New Testament. These are truths worth knowing. What we see in the Bible are the truths God wanted people to know. He inspired those writing to record His revelation of Himself to His created human family. It reminds me of what the Apostle John said about the things He was inspired to capture and preserve, "but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31) Amen

Scene from the movie, The Passion of the Christ.
You are correct. All of that first paragraph was prompted by that single particular seasonal image. I read that our brain processes an image 60,000 times faster than text. We need only think about visual messages coming at us from TV commercials of all kinds. Powerful indeed. If you Google 'powerful images that changed the world' you will see some very familiar photos that influenced history. God created us to be visual and His Word unfolds in word pictures, truths that can transform lives. I remember being at a sold-out showing of the movie, 'The Passion of The Christ'. Packed house. As the story unfolded on the screen, total silence. When Jesus cried out to His Father and gave up his life, a loud, almost synchronized gasp penetrated the silence. I heard people crying, some were sobbing. As a self-appointed theologian, I might take issue with how some of the Bible accounts were put to film in that movie, but, never have I experienced what happened in that theater on that day. I would like to think it was a heartfelt response to The Way, The Truth, and The Life depicted in all His glory, suffering on behalf of a fallen world. It was an eerie but unforgettable experience. It was personal for those, like me, who have experienced His grace in their lives. As they might say back home, powerful stuff, powerful indeed!

Chick-fil-A franchise operator's kids from back in 2011.
The wife and I continue to be literally floored by the heartfelt, warm reception we receive when we show up as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Some of this may be because we do so many return engagements and we have gotten to know the folks involved. An example would be the Chick-fil-A employee party we visited this past weekend. It was for all the folks and their families that work in two of the stores in our area. There were easily over 200 people at this gathering. This is our 7th year to be associated with these folks. We've watched many of their children grow up. We've seen employees become managers and others finish college and move on in their careers. I am not so much a huge fan of the food, but, I am an ardent supporter of this franchise, the parent organization, and especially the approach they pursue in operating their business. They may not have the most locations compared to their competitors, but, I read recently how they produce more revenue, on average, per store than others in the fast food industry. I think everyone knows they are a family oriented restaurant. Maybe that's it. After seven years we are like family to them. And, we greatly appreciate and enjoy working with them. No. I'm not doing a commercial for them. I'm only passing on my experience. Oh yeah. I also recommend them. Just so you know. Full disclosure requires me to say we will be making an appearance in their two stores this week. Take care now, you hear? May God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

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