2021 Archives

New Year’s Resolution

The first people to make New Year’s resolutions were the Ancient Babylonians.  People all over the world have been breaking them ever since. Resolutions in ancient civilizations included things like returning a borrowed farm implement.  Early Christians believed that the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting upon the failures of the past year, and resolving to correct them in the new year.  Popular contemporary resolutions tend to involve things like quitting smoking, losing weight, or paying debts.

  It has been reported that 25% of all resolutions are broken in the first week.  That percentage rises to 80% by the second week of February.    Less than 8% make it to the end of the year.  Our propensity to break them has made New Year’s resolutions a laughing stock.  That’s unfortunate when you consider how Biblical Christianity is propagated in part by our resolve to do right before others.  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16).” 

  One of my favorite songs for the New Year’s season is, I Am Resolved.  We should consider some of its practical suggestions for a new resolution, and then pray for the grace to weave it into the fabric of our lives…

I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight.

I am resolved to go to the Savior, leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One, He hath the words of life.

I am resolved to follow the Savior, faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth, He is the living Way.

I am resolved to enter the kingdom, leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me, still will I enter in.

I am resolved, and who will go with me? Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit, we’ll walk the heav’nly way.

The Miracle Of Christmas

  Hollywood, and the many less endowed producers of our day, have created a number of films and animations that suggest some sort of magical power associated with Christmas celebrities.  Folklore and tradition have propagated the same fantasies for centuries.  Hey, it sells product and provides a seasonal venue for promoting the new ideas and isms of greedy and deceitful men.  Cozy traditions are utilized to produce cute or sensational drama that both entertain, and play on our emotions.  Underlying motives are hidden by masterfully orchestrated technological wizardry.

  In reality, Christmas is the simple celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, who came to offer spiritual light and life to a world steeped in sin.    No magic is needed to make this historic event worthy of our celebration, nevertheless, the real story of Christ’s birth, life and ministry are replete with supernatural signatures of the Almighty.  The miracles surrounding Jesus’ birth are God’s testimony of His unique relationship with His Son, the Babe in the Manger.  The prophets foretold that He would be born in a little village called Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  God marked the uniqueness of His person by causing him to be conceived in the womb of a virgin (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14).  A star would later lead wisemen from the orient to the place where He abode as a little boy (Matthew 2:2).  And much of the life of Jesus was prophesied centuries before He was born.

  This babe in the manger was the Light of the World, revealing God’s truth and love to a fallen creation that He would not abandon.  Through Jesus’ bloody death, His burial and resurrection, forgiveness was purchased for every soul that would inhabit the earth from the beginning to the end of time.  This forgiveness is offered to you as a gift, but like any gift, it must be received.

  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12)”  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)”

The Babe In The Manger

 Wow!  It’s hard to believe that another year is almost past.  As a young man I thought it strange how the older folk spoke of time “speeding up” as they grew older.  Now I’m saying the same to my sons—does this mean I’m getting old?  The passage of time could be depressing except for the joy of celebrating Christmas every December to take our minds off of the fleeting years.

  Several years ago I was searching for a song to use in our church family’s celebration of Christ’s birth.  I wanted something different, something that would challenge our people to focus on the whole of God’s gift to mankind on that first Christmas long ago.  When my wife realized what I was doing, she immediately remembered an article she had seen containing the words of a song that was written in 1954 by William and Mildred Dillon entitled The Babe In The Manger.  This was the message that I had been looking for.  It has challenged the hearts of my family every year since that date.  It is my prayer that during this Christmas season, you too will be challenged by its message.

  • Do you worship the Babe in the manger, but reject the Christ of the Cross?  Your redemption comes not by the manger, but the death of Christ on the Cross.

  • If you worship the Babe in the manger, but ignore the Blood of God’s Son, to you Christ is only a stranger, ‘til you trust the work He has done.

  • Will you look past the Babe in the manger, will you look to Calvary?  Oh my friend can you see the danger of a lost eternity?

  Chorus:  The Babe in the manger was God’s only Son, who came to the world to die.  The Babe in the manger could never have done the work of His God on high.  The Babe left the manger and went to the Cross to pay the wages of sin.  Your way of forgiveness is not by the Babe, but the Christ who died for your sins.

  The Babe in the manger, the Christ of the cross, is now the risen Son of God, our Savior.  He is God’s gift to you, have you received Him yet?

  Have a blessed Christmas!

The Carols Tell The Story

  Did you ever wonder what moved the writers of our beloved Christmas carols to pen the precious words that bring joy to our hearts year after year?  And did you ever notice how the story of our Lord’s birth can be conveyed using only their titles?

  Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been in need of a Savior.  The Bible tells us that from before the foundation of the world, God intended to provide One, and those who knew of His intention prayed diligently, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”  But not until the time was right did those Angels from the Realms of Glory come on that Silent Night, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks in the fields outside the Little Town Of Bethlehem, to announce God’s good tidings of great Joy To The World.  The angels told the shepherds that in that very town, Away In A Manger, an Infant Holy, Infant Lowly was born—the Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

  And so it has been down through the ages that Good Christian Men Rejoice at the remembrance of that great event that took place Once in Royal David’s City where our Sweet Little Jesus Boy was born.  He was Of The Father’s Love Begotten, that He might save His people from their sins.

  Perhaps to our shame, there are still those who would confess, “I Wonder As I Wander down the path of life, What Child Is This?, Who Is He In Yonder Stall?”  We can encourage them to, by faith, listen through the annals of time to The First Noel sung by the angels so long ago.  Hark The Herald Angels Sing, Glory To The Newborn King!

  O Come All Ye Faithful, who know what happened that first Christmas night, …O Holy Night.  Let us Rejoice, Rejoice This Happy Morn in that through faith, Angels We Have Heard On High, singing of the Christ Child who was Born To Die that we might live.

  Should we keep the real meaning of Christmas to ourselves?  No, let us Go Tell It On The Mountain, Over The Hills And Everywhere.  How Great Our Joy!

Let The Redeemed Of The Lord Say So!

  There seem to be more and more people these days who claim to know God, but are not willing to explain how the relationship was established.  Perhaps because of their assumed favored status, they feel no compulsion to share Him with us “have nots.”  Some may be so bold as to believe that they are unique, and God has chosen to commune with them because they are simply His type.  Perhaps they believe that they are more intellectual than those of us who are compelled to talk about religion and God, and they don’t want to waste their time trying to reason with us.

  The greatest number of those who are silent about their salvation believe simply that they are “good people,” and God would have no logical reason to reject their fellowship in the future.  These good people are often afraid to talk about their relationship with the Lord because they are ashamed of their ignorance.  To say that they are “Christians” or that they “believe in God” is the best way to avoid the conversation.  The old, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” approach.  They get angry at those who are persistent with them.

   No doubt, there are still others who reject everything that does not stand up to their reasoning.  While they would not deny that there is a God, they cannot accept that He might be more complex or capable than themselves.  They refuse to believe anything that cannot be explained in the same terms that they use to describe their own existence, and the matter is not open for discussion.

  While it may seem logical to call one’s relationship with God a personal matter, it is certainly selfish and ill-advised to say that such a relationship with the Almighty could, or should, be private.  The Psalmist said, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; (Psalm 107:2)”  God requires that believers share His way of salvation with others.  “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1Peter 3:15)”  But maybe you are without hope.  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (Acts 16:31).”