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The Good News

Mark 15:19-20
And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

Christmas. It is one of the most joyous Christian holidays, a time to remember the birth of Christ our savior. Christmas is a time to share our blessings with one another, and to be surrounded by the people we love. It is a time for giving, and a time for forgiving. Most importantly, it is a reminder of how much God loves us.

Last Sunday one of the kids in Junior Church asked, "Why did God send Jesus if He knew He was going to die?" In fact, Jesus wasn't just going to die, Jesus was going to be mocked, beaten, tortured, and then sentenced to die a slow, painful death by crucifixion. All at the hands of those He came to save.

It's funny, because as Christians we like to remember the good times in Jesus' life. We love to tell the Nativity story, but we forget that shortly after His birth Christ needed to flee from Herod's army. We tell about His wisdom, His love, and His healing, but we forget about His suffering. We forget the price He paid, for our sins. We forget the lengths that God went to show us His love (Romans 5:8).

To be honest, thinking about this leaves me dumbfounded, because God knew what would happen to His Son. God had told Isaiah along with many other prophets of the suffering the Savior would endure. God knew that the very creatures He had created, would crucify Him for trying to save us from ourselves. And yet, God lowered Himself in Christ, feeling physical pain and suffering. God lowered Himself, and let mere humans beat Him and mock Him (Philippians 2:7). The God who has all the power of the universe, humbled Himself to be lower than the angels, and to die at our sinful, hateful hands (Hebrews 2:9).

God knew this would happen ahead of time, and yet He loved us so immensely that He sent His Son, the third person of the Trinity, to suffer a painful death, so that we could spend eternity with our Heavenly Father (John 3:16). That's the story of love. That is the story of Christmas.

Today, remember the price God paid for you, because of how much He loves you. Remember what true love is, and share that love, God's love, with all.

I am With You Always - Matthew 28-20
Charles H. Spurgeon/Alistair Begg
It is good to know there is One who is always the same and who is always with us. It is good that there is one stable rock amidst the billows of the sea of life. Let us not set our affections upon rusting, moth-eaten, decaying treasures but set our hearts upon Him who remains faithful forever. Let us not build our house upon the moving quick sands of the deceitful world but base our hopes upon this rock that, amid descending rain and roaring floods,  shall stand immovably secure. My soul, I charge you, lay up your treasure in  the only secure  cabinet, store your jewels where you can never lose them. Put your all in Christ, set all your affections on His person, all your hope in His merit, all your trust in His efficacious blood, all your joy in his presence, and then you may laugh at loss and defy destruction. Remember that all the flowers in the world’s garden fade by turns, and the day comes when nothing will be left but the black, cold earth and death will soon put out the candle. How sweet to have the sunlight when the candle is gone! The dark flood must soon roll between you and all you have; so join your heart to him who will never leave you; trust Him who will go with you safely to the celestial shore and have you sit with him in heavenly places forever. In the sorrows of affliction, tell your secrets to the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. Trust all your concerns to him who can never be taken from you, who will never leave you and who will never let you leave Him, even “Jesus Christ (who) is the same yesterday and today and forever.” I am with you always” is enough for my soul to live upon no matter who forsakes me.
 
 

Poem by: Jim Henley

The Best Indeed, Is Yet To Come

The lord has blessed me all my days, and kept me in his palm

Though storms of life have come my way, their fearsome winds He’s calmed

When others threw their fiery darts, to cause my feet to stray

He gently took my hand in his, and kept me in the way

Yes Life down here is sweet indeed, with blessings He’s bestowed

And should I live a hundred years, and watch new things unfold

This world with all it’s wonders, all of it’s glitter, gleam and gloss

Could never pay the price he paid upon that old rugged cross

With empty hands I came to Him, Un-worthy of his love

He wrapped me in His righteousness, and wrote my name above

And now I owe my all to Him, though little it may be

Upon that cross he gave His all, then gave it all to me

And one day when they lay me down, and I take that final flight

On wings of love He’ll take me home, where never comes a night

So lift your head dear child of God, Your life has just begun

And know for sure without a doubt, The Best Is Yet To Come!

 

By Jim Hendley

Written for Monroe Baker after a Beautiful Prayer he had given

At Bethany Baptist Church, Huntsville, Alabama

CONTINUE STEADFASTLY IN PRAYER - Colossians 4-2
by: Charles H. Spurgeon/Alistair Begg
It is interesting to consider how large a portion of the Bible is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing  promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “People began to call upon the name of the Lord”, and just as we are about to close the volume, the ‘Amen” of earnest supplication meets our ear. Instances are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling of Jacob---there a Daniel who prayed three times a day---and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elijah, in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises. What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer. We may be certain that whatever God Has made prominent in his word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If he has said so much about prayer, it is because He knows we have need of it. So deep are our necessities that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray. Do you need nothing? Then I fear you do not know your poverty. Have you no mercy to ask of God? Then may the Lord’s mercy show you your misery. A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honor of a Christian. If you are a child of God, you will seek your Father’s face and live in your Father’s love. Pray that this year you may be holy, humble, zealous, and patient: have closer communion with Christ, and enter more often into the banqueting-house of His love. Pray that you may be an example and a blessing to others, and that you may live more to the glory of your Master. The motto for this year must be,  “Continue in prayer.”
 

Sharing The Wealth

Jimmy Hill's picture  by: Jimmy Hill

Most weekday mornings require that I leave home at 4:00 am and make a 45-50 minute drive to take care of the needs of our 8 year old granddaughter so that her Dad (a single parent) can leave for work. No complaints here. Those long drives in the darkness give me plenty of time to meditate and think.

Lots of mornings, as the daily trek ends, I receive a very special gift of art from God. It is a newly painted orange eastern sky that is busy overpowering and driving away the darkness.

The soon to be sunrise is a prelude to a fresh and new view of the astounding scenery and wholesome people in the rural Tennessee village. It is a dramatic and welcomed change from living near the 4th largest research park in the world. Its a place where people often smile and wave when neighbors pass by.

There is pride in the local school's students' academic and sports abilities. But, there is compassion and encouragement for those who fall short. Most of the educators were raised in the same community. The people seen on the school bleachers are the same people that may be found at the PTA meetings. More importantly, the majority can be found seated in Church pews every Sunday. And many are regulars at midweek prayer services, too. It's as though God has a special fabric laced through the people.

On one of those early mornings, my thoughts turned to a mini series delivered by our Pastor on being rich beyond measure. We can be rich in other ways than money and substance. We can be rich in God's mercy, grace and love. Some scriptures worth reading about the subject are 1 John 4:9-10; 1 John 3:16 and John 3:16

Later that same morning, I received a text message with a video attached from a dear Brother in Christ. The video was freshly recorded in a small church house in North Huntsville. The participants in the video were predominantly Black. They were singing spirituals like most cannot sing. A few months ago, he and I sat in and observed one of those gatherings. That same fabric that is laced through the people in the Tennessee village runs through the people in that small simple North Huntsville Church house, too.

Both have a charismatic appeal to me. They beckon me to indulge in their holdings. And they are willing to share. Their wealth is woven into their fabric....mercy, grace and love.

Isn't that what we all need? That is exactly what God offers each of us. And, if we accept God's mercy, grace and love, should it not be reasonable to want to share the same with others?

Lord, I confess to you that I have fallen short many times in extending Your mercy, grace and love to others. The wealth that you have given to me is beyond measure. And, I realize that You expect me to share. Please forgive me.

In the Name of Jesus I pray.

Amen

Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5

Jimmy Hill

Music Minister

Midway Baptist Church, Athens, Al

                In Rev. 3:20 Jesus said “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Satan knows that Jesus stands at the door of your heart knocking, asking you to open the door of your heart and let him in. Jesus Christ never has nor ever will force Himself upon anyone. No one has ever been made to become a Christian. He will however beckon you with a strong drawing upon your heart. You will feel that slight tug at your heart strings and you know that it is Jesus again! You do not hear aloud audible voice asking will you let me in? Will you let me in? Inside yourself at that moment is complete silence except for that small voice of God asking to come in.

Satan on the other hand knows that God calls all mankind to repentance. Satan does not want anyone to hear God calling and knocking at the door. Satan knows he must create a distraction resulting in someone or something knocking at your heart louder than Jesus. Remember the advertisements you have seen with loud music, exploding scenes, puiack action to draw the eye and an allurement to excitement? How about the 3-d billboard where images jump off the board to grab your attention. Or even friends and family that demand your time and attention, It could even be a job that requires so much of you that there remains no time or strength to respond to the call of God upon our heart.

Satin is placing distractions in the way of people, He does not want you to heed to the still small voice of God or the knock you hear at your hearts door, so he attempts to knock the loudest.

                A person may feel that more excitement and joy will come by yielding to the one who is knocking the loudest, But a life absent of God leaves one feeling empty and void. There remains that empty spot in the heart that nothing can fill.

                You see, there lies the real issue, There is a Place in your heart that only Jesus can fill, Nothing else can fill God’s spot in our heart, Jesus is simply knocking; asking you to let him come in and fill that empty, hurting spot in your heart.

                Once you’ve yielded to the knock of God and opened the door, you will have the same testimony as the Apostle Peter, He said that it is “Joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

                Would you open the door of your heart to God? He is still knocking

True Revival

II Chronicles 7:14 "If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." NKJ

            What we need today more than anything is revival! I mean a mighty manifestation of God beginning among His people. God will give revival when the people of God love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

            Many have given up on revival. There are fewer attempts every year. I read of the great revivals in the past and remember how churches would be packed. In our southern culture revival was defined as a week of spirited preaching with services each night. My first revival meeting lasted two weeks and now some attempts last only one day. In earlier days the first week was to get the church members revived and the second was to get the lost saved. In our day revival services are usually well attended on Sunday morning but only the faithful few attend the remainder of the week. I had rather see a few meet the requirement of humbling themselves, seeking God's face through prayer, and turning from sin to obey God. Then God will bless with answered prayer, forgiveness of sin, and healing of our land.

            Genuine revival will always be preceded by a hunger for God's Word and a desire for the presence of the Lord expressed in sincere prayer. Prayer will become so effective that requests will come from near and far because God hears and answers the prayers of revived people. Weeping over the lost will become as prominent as praying for the sick in our midweek prayer services..

            When revival comes there will be equality before the law for all classes and races.

            Those who have been nursing grudges over past slights will repent.

            Revival begins with the people of God but will not end there for folks will be saved and there will be a generosity in meeting the needs of others and sharing Jesus here and around the world.

            Families will be committed to having an effective family altar. There will be fewer broken marriages. Backsliders will be revived and their children will once again be taught the gospel, and moral values.

            Satan will intensify his attack but will be overcome by the blood of Christ.

            The people of God will reflect moral values consistent with Christ. When enough of us are right with God, crimes will decrease, children will be safe in our parks, and the aged will not have to live in fear in their homes. There will be less drunkenness, drug addiction, pornography, abuse, disease and crimes.

            Youth will be mentored by caring adults and surrender to serve the Lord in the church and society.

            God will give birth to souls who will join with us and will be nurtured and matured.

            The question is, will we seek revival now, or wait until calamities are released which are poised to afflict our world? It is time for the people of God to wake up, go down to pray, seek God's face, turn from their wicked ways, get up, and go out in the

power of the Holy Spirit. Then the Lord will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, heal our land and His church will be refreshed!

            We must not give up on true revival.

By Bro. Gene Fant, Sr

Choose Joy! Devotion – taken from Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence “Remember that Joy is not dependent on your circumstances. Some of the world’s most miserable people are those whose circumstances seem the most enviable. People who reach the top of the ladder career-wise are often surprised to find emptiness awaiting them. True Joy is a by-product of living in My Presence. Therefore you can experience it in palaces, in prisons…anywhere. Do not judge a day as devoid of Joy just because it contains difficulties. Instead, concentrate on staying in communication with Me. Many of the problems that clamor for your attention will resolve themselves. Other matters you must deal with, but I will help you with them. If you make problem-solving secondary to the goal of living close to Me, you can find Joy even in your most difficult days.” I read this devotion out of sequence because the word ‘Joy’ jumped out at me. ‘Choose Joy’ has been my motto for a long time now. At the beginning of 2008, I felt like God spoke to me and said this was going to be a rough year. I don’t claim to be super spiritual, but I believe God was warning me to be prepared for some difficult things so I could be strong enough to handle them in the right way. It was a very rough year and I cried and prayed with people I love dearly dealing with things I never dreamed they would be dealing with. But the Joy of the Lord has been my strength! The Joy of the Lord can be your strength, too. …. for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Heh. 8:10 You may ask yourself how I can really have Joy in my situation. Fill your day with Godly music – songs that encourage and uplift. Read God’s Word and religious books instead of the newspaper and fiction books. Prayer is essential. Start your day with prayer – go through your day talking to God – thank Him for the good things first – then present your petitions – end your day in prayer. Keep company with Godly people. Listen to recorded sermons. Think on the happy things in your life – not the sad. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8 I know this works – I’m speaking from personal experience. The Joy that comes from God is unexplainable. The world will look at us and say – I don’t understand how you can be so happy with your circumstances. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7 When you get up each day – claim your Joy. Speak it – I Choose Joy! …I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD… Ps 121:1-2 Regina Gardner Huntland Pentecostal Church

The Winds are Blowing
John 3:8 states “ The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof , but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth…”

 During the month of March each year we look to the sky expecting the winds to blow. After all, the winds blow every March so why should this year be any different. What we fail to realize is that the winds are always blowing. We may not see or hear the winds but there is always a moving of the wind. The Spirit of the Lord is the same. We may not see or hear the moving of his Spirit but be not deceived, His Spirit is moving.

 On the day of Pentecost the wind was evident. The Scripture states “suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” On that feast day in Jerusalem all the city heard of the commotion and came to see what happened. God used this moving of His Spirit to speak to the masses that day in Israel. In contrast I Kings 19:12 states that God moved as “a still small voice”.

 When God chose to speak to one man named Elijah, He moved in a manner that only Elijah heard. While we want God to move in the supernatural so that it can be seen by the masses, if we will stop and listen, the wind may be blowing to where only we can hear. Yes, the wind is blowing. Man cannot direct the wind nor harness it. Neither can we, the Spirit of the Lord. He moves in His own time, His own direction and in His own will. Since we look to the sky anticipating the moving of the wind we should always look to the Lord expecting His Spirit to move. We should not be surprised when we do not see Him move- We should not be surprised when we do mot hear Him move- after all He is always moving in His own will and direction as He listeth.

 We just need to keep working till the Lord comes and understand we cannot predict the wind, neither can we predict the Spirit of the Lord. But be not deceived, He is moving, The Winds are blowing!

Keep the Faith,

Pastor Stephen Reed

Lake Wales, FL

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