Some of us have been Blessed to experience FORGIVENESS; a NEW BEGINNING with no encumbrances or hindrances from our past actions. It did not come easily, in our selfishness and pride, we live in the FEAR OF ASKING FORGIVENESS. Yes, the FEAR of giving GOD a "blank check" to SEARCH OUR HEARTS and expose all that we are, and are not 2 Corinthians 5:17; "...The old has passed away, behold the NEW HAS COME". A FRESH START DOESN'T HAVE TO COME ONCE A YEAR; IT CAN BE EVERY SECOND OF EVERY HOUR. LET US NOT BE CHRISTIANS WHO LIVE IN A LIFETIME IN "LENT" AND NEVER EXPERIENCES EASTER! PRAYERS THAT WE ALL EXPERIENCE GOD'S WILL IN OUR LIVES; A NEW BEGINNING.
What is it that we see in a Disciple of JESUS? Why is there no conflict in their lives? Acts 13:52; "And the Disciples were filled with JOY, and with the HOLY GHOST". JOY does not come and go; it is a CONTINUOUS state of free intensity in THE HIGHER SPIRITUAL LIFE. A Disciple's JOY is the righteousness and peace from their CONFIDENCE IN GOD. JOY IS LIKE A GARDEN OF FLOWERS IN BITTER WINTER.
"When it rains, it Pours"! This is an expression that "bad things" multiply "bad things". If things are bad, just wait, they will get worse. If "Bad begets Bad", then, "does Good beget Good"? Does every experience of Truth, Goodness and Mercy, by its very nature, grow within us? Do we start to live in a different place, a "higher plane", a Spiritual Realm? And, does TRUTH and PURPOSE flourish when we SHARE IT? 2 Corinthians 5:14, "The LOVE of CHRIST urges us on"; HIS LOVE compels us to SHARE. When life in its TRUTH, GOODNESS and MERCY is shared, IT GROWS, WITHIN AND WITHOUT. The measure in which LOVE IS OFFERED, IS THE MEASURE IN WHICH LOVE IS RECEIVED. But anything left in ISOLATION AND NOT SHARED, DIES. GOOD BEGETS GOOD! "Woe to me, if I do not Preach the GOSPEL" (1 Corinthians 9:16).
Do we really think that becoming a CHRISTIAN is the result of "academic theology", "scientific evidence" or "just hoping and wishing"? Luke 24:31-32, "Then their eyes were opened and they recognized HIM...They asked each other, were not our hearts burning within us while HE talked with us....."? Theology does not ignite intense passion for GOD. Science does not create in us the deepest desire to be in GOD'S presence. Wishing and Hoping does not give the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT and its URGENCY of Grace to share the GOSPEL with EVERYONE. BECOMING A CHRISTIAN IS NOT THE RESULT OF ETHICAL CHOICE OR LOFTY MORAL IDEAS, IT IS THE PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS.
Why do people go to Church during Christmas? Is it a "sudden" mindful decision that we "need GOD in our lives", NOW? Is it a compulsive guilt that has to be satisfied and washed away? Or, could it be THE HOLY SPIRIT "Drawing us to GOD"? The atmosphere of "...The LORD, your GOD is in your midst, HE gives you victory; HE rejoices over you, HE will renew you with HIS Love, and HE will exalt over you..."(Zephaniah 3:17). HE wants us to have the same JOY and PEACE that HE has (John 15:11). We do not go to Church during Christmas from guilt or compulsion; WE SEEK MORE OF THE "SAFE HAVEN" AND JOY, THAT GIVES US THE PERSONAL CERTAINTY THAT WE ARE LOVED. MAYBE THAT IS WHY WE GO TO CHURCH DURING CHRISTMAS.
How can we get lackadaisical about being Christians? We accepted CHRIST, read the Bible a few times and now nothing is really new and exciting. John 3:3, "...Truly, truly, I say to you,unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of GOD". Remember, when JESUS says TRULY, that is a form of expression to emphasize IMPORTANCE; and here HE says TRULY TWICE. This must be REALLY IMPORTANT. Do we somehow think we know what there is to know and are just waiting to go to Heaven? Wouldn't a relationship with JESUS have to express REVELATIONS OF TRUTH OVER AND OVER? Wouldn't each petal of a flower have depth and wonderment? Wouldn't each song the birds sing reveal a personal message from GOD? With JESUS isn't JOY constantly born anew? Isn't every "space in eternity" constantly new? Somehow it just seems that BEING BORN AGAIN, IS LIKE BEING BORN AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN,
It is not anticipation of gifts under a tree that brings, or sends, a "Heartfelt Greeting and Well Wishes". It is the JOY and Gratefulness that burst forth as an extension of the deepest Faith coming alive within us. The HOLY SPIRIT'S Presence causes us to OVERFLOW with Greetings and Acts of Love. Acts 2:33, "...HE has poured out this, that you yourselves are seeing and hearing." Christmas exalts GOD and the GIFT of HIS SON . It is the GIFT OF GOD. CHRISTMAS IS THE CLEANSING THAT COMES BEFORE THE RINGING OF BELLS, MIDNIGHT SERVICES, AND ALL OF THE PREACHING.
We hear the GOSPEL, not in the eloquence of words, but in the LIVES OF BELIEVERS. Some may "PREACH", even fewer "TEACH"; but there is only a "REMNANT" that carries "GOD'S MESSAGE OF LOVE" in their lives. It is not "GOD" people refuse, it is "THE MESSENGER". Acts 15:8, "And GOD who knows the heart, gave them the HOLY SPIRIT having cleansed their hearts by faith". "For in each of us, GOD has placed Eternity in our hearts". The SPIRIT in us, hears the INTENTIONS of their hearts as we are deafened by their words. Isn't the TRUTH revealed, not in the words of person, but the INTENT OF THE HEART? GOD has drawn us to HIMSELF by placing in our lives "A PERSON WHO "LIVED IN LOVE". WE HEAR IN THE SILENCE..
Let us take time to meditate and write down the things we would do today, if we KNEW THAT WE WERE GOING TO DIE TOMORROW. Now, let us meditate and write down the things we would do today, if WE WERE GUARANTEED THAT WE WOULD LIVE FOREVER. WERE THE THINGS TO DO ON EACH LIST, THE SAME? "Oh sing to the LORD a new song...tell of HIS Salvation from day to day...declare HIS marvelous works among the people...bring an offering and come into HIS Courts" (Psalm 96:1-13). LOVE IS LIFE; WERE OUR LISTS THE SAME?
Do we depend upon the assurance, ability, strength, character and TRUTH OF GOD? Do we really "TRUST in the LORD..." (Psalm 37:3) and "...lift up our souls to HIM...(Psalm 25:1)? Do we TRUST GOD so much that we don't "worry...become impatient...or become fearful"? Do we TRUST HIM so much, that our only desire is GOD? Do we continually have the DIVINE JOY in any circumstance even when everything seems beyond our understanding? Isn't every scripture, every promise dependent upon TRUST? DO WE TRUST GOD SO FULLY THAT, TRUST BEGETS TRUST?
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