Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Joel Spencer – Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


Matthew 1:18-25  This week Joel Spencer brings our Christmas message.  Do you know what it really means to believe in Jesus?  There are some false views about this in today’s society.  Listen to find out what is the evidence of true faith.

Please click on the link below to listen to this message.                            matthew1_20-21

Evidence of True Faith – Joel Spencer

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How do you suffer?  Perhaps you suffer because you have some form of physical illness.  Or, you may suffer because you have anxiety, and panic attacks keep you from doing what you’d like to do.  There are many ways we suffer, but have you every thought about why we suffer.  Do you realize that Christians suffer and that we will keep on suffering until we reach heaven?  That is the truth of the matter.

There are many reasons  we suffer, but as believers we might wonder why God allows it.  Doesn’t He love us?  I believe that many people who come to Christ think they will get out of all the hardships of life.  They think everything will be peachy if they raise their hand in a service and say, “I invite Jesus into my heart.”  Sometimes that is what they are led to believe by the pastor.  Yes, get Jesus and live your best life now!  Things will be great!

I’ve sat in churches like that and I can remember the pastor leading us.  He would say something like this:

“There may be someone out there right now who is hurting.  They might be having trouble in their marriage.  There is someone who is physically ill today but they are here anyway.   Do you want to be well?  God will heal you.  There is someone who needs financial assistance.  They need money for a bill they can’t pay.  Receive Jesus right now and he will take care of all of your needs.  If you’ve never invited Jesus Christ into your heart do so now and feel His comfort.  With every head bowed and eyes closed raise your hand so that I can pray for you.  Yes, I see that one.  There is another, and yes, I see you too.”

On it goes till the pastor is satisfied that enough people have given their lives to Christ. This is sad because that is not how a person becomes a Christian and it gives them false hope.  They think they have just received Christ and their lives will be so much better from then on.   Sorry folks, but that is not the way it works.   They are not taught the truths of the Bible.  They go back out into the world and try to live right, but it doesn’t seem to work.  That is because they are not truly saved, and they don’t have the power of the Holy Sprit working in them.  They think they are  saved, but they are deceived.   These people need to hear the true gospel message, repent of their sins, and get saved.

If you are a true Christian you will still suffer.  How do I know this?  Because the Bible tells us so.  Take a look at Philippians 1:29-30 with me:

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.  (emphasis mine.)

Yes, you saw right.  We will suffer for His sake.  It says that this has been granted to us on behalf of Christ.  That would indicate that it is Christ’s will for us to suffer and that we should think of this as a privilege.    Have you ever thought of suffering for Christ as a privilege?  I hadn’t.

Now let’s look at I Peter 5:10

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  (emphasis mine.)

Again we see that the Bible says we are going to suffer, and the purpose of it is to perfect us.

Here is another interesting scripture on suffering:  2 Timothy 3:12

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (emphasis mine.)

The apostles all suffered persecution and were killed in many horrible ways.  We too will suffer persecution if we live for Christ.  In this country, at this time, it isn’t that bad.  People may shun us and not like us if we stand for Christ.  In fact, in some families if a person becomes a believer their family might turn against them.  Sometimes, as in my case, I lost many of my old friends as they did not understand me anymore and we didn’t have much in common anymore.  You might suffer persecution for Christ’s sake in the work place.  But, in some countries, even today, people are being persecuted for Christ to the extent that they are killed.  It is illegal in some countries to become a Christians and if one does they are thrown out of their family and can be killed for being a Christian.  They can also be killed for attempting to spread the gospel.  That is true persecution for Christ’s sake.

So, again, why do we suffer?  Well, for one thing to identify with Christ and what He has done for us, and for standing up for the gospel.  But, there are other reasons also.

Have you ever noticed Romans 8:28-29?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God forknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Emphasis mine.)

When things are going wrong people are quick to quote Romans 8:28, but I seldom hear them add verse 29.  Yes, all things do work out for good for Christians, but the reason is found in verse 29, and that is so that we might be conformed to the likeness of Christ.  In other words, some of our problems and suffering are allowed to change us.  We come to Christ with many rough edges that need to be smoothed off and our loving heavenly Father has to shave them off.  Little by little we change as we go through the hardships that come our way.

Can you identify with this?  I can.  I suffered tremendously from panic attacks and agoraphobia for 20 years.  I found Christ during that time and believe me I had many rough edges that needed smoothing.  I continued to suffer, but I also turned to Christ for the answers.  I studied my Bible daily.  I learned many precious promises and I learned how to claim them in my own life.  I learned how to apply my faith to my problems.  I grew in Christ.  Eventually, I no longer had panic attacks. I got my life back and it was so much better than before.  God was good to me!  The biggest thing I learned was not to depend on myself or others, but totally depend on Jesus Christ for everything.  He has sustained me to this day!  He will do the same for you if you turn to Him.

I will close with this quote from Elisabeth Elliot in her book,  A Path Through Suffering.  (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 1990), 197-198

We suffer that we may learn who God is; that we may learn to trust and obey; it is required of soldiers; it is the condition of discipleship; to prune us, shape us to Christ’s image; to qualify us for the kingdom, to strengthen our faith; refine and test us, grow us; produce endurance; character, hope, joy, generosity; so that Christ’s power can be manifested in us; we suffer for the sake of God’s people; that we may share in His sufferings, His glory, and identify with Him in the crucifixion.

Here is a wonderful video by Joni Eareckson Tada that you will enjoy.  It really brings suffering home.

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matthew1_22-23

Matthew 1:22-23

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”

Isn’t it awesome to  think about what this means?  God with us?  How can that be?
That beautiful little baby that was born of a virgin, and laid in a manger so many years ago in Bethlehem was actually God.  That just boggles my mind!   Yes, Jesus was fully man and fully God at the same time.  I can’t understand all that, and I’m sure you can’t either, but we can take it by faith and believe it.

Now, think back to that day in Bethlehem so many years ago, and picture Mary and Joseph.  She was pregnant and about to give birth and they couldn’t even find a room to stay in. Oh, how uncomfortable and stressed Mary must have been.  But, God provided a place in a stall with the farm animals.  Then, that little one was born.  He was “God with us.”  Wow!  That tiny baby was God!  How amazing!  How wonderful!

Do you think Mary knew the significance of it all?  I wonder what Mary and Joseph thought when shepherds came and worshipped their little baby?  Then, kings showed up and brought gifts.  How puzzling it must have been and how wonderful at the same time.

Jesus was sinless and therefore He could stand in our place of judgement for our sins.  Only a sinless one could do that.  He took our punishment for sin which is death.  The Bible says in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Oh, God must really love us more than we can ever appreciate.  He sent His Son to die for me!  And for you! Wow!  That’s truly amazing!  What love!  What mercy!  I truly deserved to die, but He stood up and went to the cross and took on the punishment for all humanity who would believe in Him.

That’s not all.  After Jesus suffered and died that horrible death on the cross, He was buried in a tomb, and after three days He miraculously came back to life.  That is almost unbelievable too.  But, it is true as the scriptures testify of it.

But, there is even more.  When we turn to Jesus Christ, confess our sins, repent,  and give our hearts and lives to Him then guess what?  He (God) actually comes and lives in us in the form of the Holy Spirit.  We are reborn.  We are “in Christ.”  We have been cleansed of our sins and can live to glorify God with the power of the Holy Spirit in us.  I’m so thankful that God sent Jesus so that God could be with us.

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1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB  (19)  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

I suppose I’ve read the above scripture many times and kind of skimmed over it and the meaning didn’t really set in.  Maybe you have also.  Let’s take a few minutes and meditate on these verses.

Just think, the Word says our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Now, what does that mean?  When we became Christians the Holy Spirit came and now dwells in us.

2 Timothy 1:14 NASB (emphasis mine) Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

The Holy Spirit of God now actually lives in us!  Wow!  That seems impossible doesn’t it?  But, it is true!  The third head of the godhead now lives in me!  And also in you! We have been changed! We are different now that we have Him in us!  What an awesome privilege it is that God in His infinite wisdom chose to allow the Holy Spirit to live in us.  That simply boggles my mind!

We are not the same as when we walked in the world before we were saved.  In fact, the Bible says we “are a new creation.”

2 Corinthians 5:17a NASB  (17)  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;…

What does it mean that our bodies are a “temple” of the Holy Spirit?  The word temple means a sacred place.  We are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and our bodies are to be holy, acceptable to God.   How can my body be holy?  I know that when something in the Bible is holy it means that it is set apart for a special use, such as the vessels used in the temple in Old Testament days.  So, that must mean we are set apart by God for a special use and part of that is for us to be a temple for the Holy Spirit.

This is serious business!  As we live out our Christian lives we must remember who we are in Christ.  We must remember that the Holy Spirit lives in us and that we are His holy home.  We need to think about the things we do and the places we go.  Remember, who is with you at all times.

As I ponder these things, I realize it is vitally important how I act, where I go, and who I spend my time with.  I need to evaluate my actions with the fact that the Holy Spirit lives in me.  I need to remind myself throughout the day of this fact.

Do you remember from the scriptures how Jesus went into the temple area and found the money changers there and because there was corruption and greed going on He threw over the tables and cleansed the area?  He said, “…My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13 KJV) Likewise the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer according to God’s will.  We are the means the Holy Spirit uses to offer up His prayers.

But, what if we don’t live holy lives?  We are a temple and when we sin we are as the money changers.  We corrupt the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and that is shameful. Do you think God just might discipline us for that?

Do you realize that Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price to purchase our salvation?  He gave His life so that we might not have to pay the penalty for our sins.  The Bible tells us “the wages of sin is death.”

Romans 6:23 KJV(emphasis mine)  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB (emphasis mine)   (20)  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

We must keep our bodies undefiled because they are a shrine of the Holy Spirit. When we live holy lives we glorify God.  We show Him respect and honor by living the right way.

After meditating on these things I think we need to take an inventory of our lives and see if we live a holy life, or if we follow the things of the world.  There is  much coming at us all day long that can trip us up.  We need to be mindful of who we are in Christ and who lives with us.

  • Can we take the Holy Spirit to the bar?
  • Can we take Him to the casino?
  • Can we take Him out on that date with an unbeliever?
  • What about the kind of people we hang out with?  Is there coarse language and dirty jokes?
  • Do we watch the right kind of movies and television programs?
  • Can we go out partying like we did before we were saved?

I believe that when we are faced with a decision about whether we should do something or not we need to ask ourselves: “Would Jesus do this?  Does this thing honor Him and will it bring Him glory?”

A few weeks back I wrote an article about doing Tai Chi.  As a Christian I determined that I could not do that because I should not participate in a false religion.  I could not take Jesus with me to Tai Chi.  It would not glorify God.  This is just one example of how we need to evaluate what we do and who we spend our time with knowing that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.

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I’ll have to admit that I have been confused between the difference of joy and happiness.  I thought I knew what it meant to be happy, but was confused about joy.  I wondered if they were the same thing.  I often heard Christians say they had the “joy of the Lord,” and I wasn’t sure if I had that or not.  So, I decided to study it out and see if I could make it clear to myself what the difference between joy and happiness is.

I realize that happiness depends on our circumstances.  It is a feeling or emotion.  We can be extremely happy and then the phone rings and we get a call that can dash all the happiness away and fill us with the utmost sadness.  Perhaps it was a call from a loved one to let us know that one of our dear relatives had passed away, or been in an accident, or developed a terminal illness.  Then all our happy feelings are washed right down the drain.  Happiness is fleeting.

Also being happy is something that all people can enjoy.  It isn’t dependent on being a Christian.  I know lots of people who are unbelievers who are very happy.  Their circumstances are good at the present time and all is right with the world.  So, happiness isn’t something that is for a Christian only.  Happiness is natural (fleshly) and can be felt by the natural man.

Joy on the other hand is not natural to us.  It is in fact supernatural (spiritual), and it is a gift of the Holy Spirit.  It is something only Christians can experience.

I listened to a sermon by Dr. Alan Cairns that he preached way back in 2000, and he explained joy something like this: (not an exact quote.) “Joy is the response of a believer to the understanding of God’s love for him in Christ.”  And, he said that we only know that God loves us by the Holy Spirit.

Isn’t that awesome?  When we realize the depth of the love God has for us in Christ then we can respond with utter joy.  I like that!  Now, I’m beginning to see what joy is.  It is my response back to God for ALL He has done for me.  He saved me from my sinful self; He adopted me into His family, and He gives me the hope of heaven.  There is so much more.

I learned that our creator God is even joyful over us.  Can you imagine that?  God who created everything has joy over little ole us?  That boggles my mind, but the Word says it’s true.

(Zephaniah 3:17 NASB) “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

Wow! That is truly amazing!

(Isaiah 62:5b NASB) …And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.

The reason we can be joyful is because God created us in His image and He is joyful.  It is our birthright to be full of joy.  When we are in Christ we are like Him.

Now here is something I found that’s really a treasure.  Listen to this:

Cover of "The Joy of the Lord"

(Nehemiah 8:10b NASB) …Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

When we see LORD written in all caps like that it means, “the self-existent one.”We need to meditate on that promise:  “…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Where does our strength come from?  It comes from our joy in the self-existant one!  Isn’t that amazing?  Do you need strength?  Dwell on the LORD!

We need to realize that only Christians can have this kind of joy.  That’s because it is given to us by the Holy Spirit.  It is the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 NASB But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  (23)  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The joy that the Lord gives us enables us to cope with life’s trials.  It gives us hope, and enables us to become overcomers instead of victims.  It is true! This joy of the Lord is very powerful indeed.  It is our strength!

How to we apply this joy in our lives? 

First lets take a look back in Galatians.  We will see a contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit.

Galatians 5:19-21 NASB Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,  (20)  idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,  (21)  envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Anyone who fits in the list above is not a true believer and will not experience this wonderful joy of the Lord.  If you find yourself here, then please consider it a warning to repent and get right with God.  See: https://hatchcreek.com/the-true-gospel-message-2/ The True Gospel Message.

The Bible tells us that believers have the fruit of joy given by the Holy Spirit and with that they have strength.  But, we can’t just let it lie there dormant, we must cultivate it and make it grow and become second nature to us.  We do this by engaging our mind.  God tells us to rejoice in the Lord always.  It doesn’t say sometimes when things are going good, but always.  Yes, even when things are bad.  Remember, our strength is in the joy of the Lord.

Philippians 4:4 NASB Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

Look at what James says:

James 1:2 NASB Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

Personally, I never liked this verse.  What does he mean by consider it all joy when I come into various trials?  Why would that be joyful?  That just didn’t make sense to me until now.  Because now I see that the joy of the Lord is our strength.  And, with that strength I can overcome trials.  Praise the Lord!  I like that!

We can cultivate the fruit of joy in our lives by taking control of our thoughts.  This is so very important.  We find the mind to be a very powerful thing and it can be used to lift us up or to tear us down, and the enemy would certainly like it to be used for his purposes.  But, Christians don’t have to go there.  We don’t have to worry.  We don’t have to fret.  We don’t have to be weighed down by all our troubles.  Yes, we will have trials and tribulations, but they don’t have to destroy us.  We don’t have to have extreme anxiety, stress, fear, or helplessness.  Those things don’t come from God.  We can live above our circumstances!

As you walk close to God and enjoy Him, He will help you train your mind to think on things that build you up instead of tearing you down.  Here is a great scripture that you ought to write on a card and put it where you can meditate on it and memorize it.

Philippians 4:8 NASB Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Whenever, you notice that you are worrying, ask the Lord to change your thoughts into ones that honor Him.  Then turn to the list above and think on those things.  You can analyze your thoughts and see if they line up with them.  Is what I’m thinking about true?  Is it honorable?  Is it right for me to think about this?  Is it pure?  Is it lovely?  Is it of a good report?  Is it excellent or praise worthy?  If so, these are the things I should dwell on and not worry about my problems. God will take care of them.

We need to think about Christ, who I believe is pictured above, and all of what He has done for us.  We ought to think about how and why we got saved, and how Jesus suffered and died for our sins.  We should look to heaven and set our minds on things above.  We can dwell on Christ  coming again.  All those things and more are what we need to think about.  Our joy comes from all that Christ has done for us.  Our joy comes because we know what lies ahead in heaven. Our joy comes as we dwell on the things of the Lord.  Just look at His creation and the beautiul nature around us.  Look at all He has made.  Look in the face of a little baby and rejoice.

I think I’ve discovered what joy is and now that I have, I am going to cultivate it in my life.  How about you?

                                                                                                                                                                      

Is there a difference between joy and happiness?  Here is what Andran Rogers has to say:

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy August 14, 2008

Sin promises joy, but it never delivers it. Why? Because true joy is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ. You can be a lost person and be happy for a while. But what I’m talking about here is not happiness because happiness depends upon what happens. Joy depends upon the Lord.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” If you live for happiness, you are a prisoner of circumstances because if the circumstances change, then you are not happy anymore.

Jesus never changes. Happiness is a cosmetic; it is on the outside. Joy is character; it is on the inside. Happiness only meets your surface needs, but joy meets your deepest needs. Therefore, happiness is like a thermometer, it just registers conditions. Joy is the thermostat that controls the conditions. Happiness evaporates in a crisis. Joy many times intensifies in a crisis. Happiness is wonder but let me tell you something, friend. Happiness is at its fullest when it is mingled with joy, when you know the joy of the Lord. Adrian Rogers from Love Worth Finding : 8/14/08

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We sang this in church yesterday and the words just made my heart leap with joy that we have such a wonderful, trustworthy friend in Jesus.  The words are more than beautiful.  If you want to hear the music just click on MIDI.  –  Bonnie 

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS

  “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13


Charles C. Converse (1834-1918)

Words: Jo­seph M. Scriv­en, 1855. Scriv­en wrote this hymn to com­fort his mo­ther, who was across the sea from him in Ire­land. It was orig­in­al­ly pub­lished anon­y­mous­ly, and Scriv­en did not re­ceive full cred­it for al­most 30 years.

Music: Erie, Charles C. Con­verse, 1868 (MI­DI, score). In World War I, the tune was paired with the words to “When This Bloody War is Over.” Al­ter­nate tunes:

If you have ac­cess to a better pho­to of Jo­seph Scriv­en or Charles Con­verse that we could put on­line, please click here.

Joseph M. Scriven (1819-1886)


What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.


Shqip | Creole | Español | Français | Русский | 汉语 | Yorùbá

   Provided my NetHymnal at: http://www.nethymnal.org.

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nativity62 

It’s Christmas time again and we focus on the babe in the manger.  Yes, that baby, Jesus, came to die on the old rugged cross. He sacrificed His life so that spiritually dead sinners could have new life.  Jesus was truly God’s gift to us. 

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Sometimes that is about as deep as our thoughts go.  I would like to unwrap some other gifts that are under God’s Christmas tree.

I’ve thought the last few days about the greatness of God.  He is absolutely gigantic, humongous, and so huge that I cannot fully comprehend it.  God is enormous.  Just take a minute right now to stop and think about how big God is.  Doesn’t it boggle your mind?  He is out there and has been out there forever.  He created everything and everyone and is in complete control of it all.  He is Sovereign!

1Ti 6:15a NASB …He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

And He can do whatever He wants in any situation.  It certainly does boggle my mind.

Then, think about how huge He is in comparison to us.  That is truly amazing! Dump out a few grains of salt from a salt shaker into your hand.  Then pick out one of those tiny grains and really look at it.  From God’s perspective we must look something like a grain of salt.  We are so teeny tiny compared to Him.  We can simply blow on that little grain of salt in our hand and it will fly away never to be found again.  God could just blow us away in an instant too.  That is sobering!  We are at His complete mercy.  And, he is a merciful God! 

With that in mind, the Bible teaches us how much God loves us. Actually, He is Love.

1Jn 4:16b NASB …God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

We are His own creation and are fearfully and wonderfully made! 

Psa 139:14 NASB I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

How intricate our bodies are.  It’s amazing how all the different parts of our bodies work together to make us stay alive.  That is all God’s doing to this tiny grain of salt.  Amazing!

Now, do you think this huge God can keep us?  Do you think He can take care of us?  There is no question about that.  His Word is full of promises about how he will provide all our needs. 

Php 4:19 NASB And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

He tells us not to worry or be anxious about anything. 

Php 4:6 NASB Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Do you think that is harsh of Him to tell us to not be anxious about anything?  I say no, because when we are believers He has promised to carry the load for us.  We do not have to worry or fret about anything.  He is truly in control, even when we feel out of control.  You see He is never out of control.  Our problem is that we go according to our feelings, and forget He is there.  That is our downfall!  We have to rise about our feelings and look at the facts.

When we were saved along with the promise of forgiveness of sins and a future home in Heaven came many other gifts that we can unwrap.  In fact, I’ve written about a few of them in the past few months.  Just as a reminder I’ll list some of them here.

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1.  We are forgiven all of our sins.

2.  We are a new creation.  (inside)

3.  We are adopted into God’s family

4.  We are citizens of Heaven

5.  Our Father will take care of all of our needs.

6.  We are more than conquerors because we now have God’s power of the Holy Spirit living within us.

7.  We will have peace of God, and peace with God.

Those are just a few of the gifts that God has so graciously provided for believers.  They are not for the people of this world, only His special children.  Those who have the family resemblance. 

I believe that we need to take a step back from ourselves.  We need to see ourselves the way God sees us.  When we do we realize all of our problems are really very small even though they don’t seem like it.  If we get our eyes off our circumstances and focus our minds on God, we allow Him to flow through us, and we have the power to make it through our problems.  We will still have trials, but they will not overwhelm us.

We can still be defeated Christians even with all those gifts if we fail to unwrap them use them. We can’t continue to live our lives the way the people of the world do.  Those ways don’t apply to us anymore.  Unbelievers only have themselves to work for them.  I remember before I was a Christian how “I” had to figure everything out, every detail, and I wasn’t always right in my decisions either. I messed things up a lot of the time.  Now, we don’t have to control every situation.  We don’t have to control others. We don’t have to be perfect.  We don’t have to please everyone, only God.  We can relax and know that God is taking care of things for us.  He IS big enough you know! 

I praise God for the wonderful gift of that little baby in the manger.  And I thank Him for all the other gifts under God’s Christmas tree that He has lavished upon us.  Unwrap them for yourself this year.

Eph 1:7-8 NASB In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (8-a) which He lavished on us.

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