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Showing posts from December, 2010

What do you mean by “firstfruits”?

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Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing.”

When we talk about giving, we often use the word “firstfruits,” but many people may not fully understand what it means. In a farming society (like that of Bible times), people depended heavily on the harvest. If the harvest was poor, the year would be a hungry one. If the harvest was good, they might be able to put some away for a bad year. How would you react if your very life depended on the harvest?

I suspect we might be reluctant to give any of it away. After all, what if there isn’t enough? What if next year is worse? Especially, if I give away the very first part that I bring in, what if something happens (hail, flood, pillage) to the rest before I can gather it? We would want to save everything we could until we were certain that we were safe.

God knew that, but He commanded the Israelites to demonstrate their trust in Him. After all, if He c…

The signs of Christmas

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Luke 2:10-12 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Back in the early 1700s, when the United States wasn't, and what was, was known as "the colonies," the settlers in Williamsburg, Virginia, celebrated Christmas. But they did their festivities without many of the customs you and I take for granted. So, what were some of the things they were missing?

First, there was no Santa, sleigh, reindeer, or elves. That's because Santa was primarily and, note I say, primarily, a Dutch tradition.

The settlers didn't decorate their Christmas trees because they didn't have them. Christmas trees, a German custom, hadn't yet shown up in that community.

The colonists set out no nativity manger scene -- a traditio…

“Merry Christmas?”

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Matthew 2:13-23 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." 19 After Herod died, an angel of …

“Thank you, Baby Jesus.”

Matthew 20:28 The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

What do you do with Jesus? What do you do with this little baby born on Christmas day?

Larry Bourbannias knew what he would do. After the Columbine massacre in April, 1999, 59-year-old Vietnam veteran Bourbonnias asked himself, “What will I do if I am ever placed in a similar situation?” He concluded, and told his four daughters: “If something like that ever happened and I was there, I would go after the shooter, because you want to protect people.”

On December 9, 2007, Bourbannias’ words were turned into action. Christian-hater Matthew Murray opened fire on the people at Colorado Springs’ New Life Church. There were about 7,000 in and around the church at the time of the shooting. While others were running away, Bourbannais made his way toward the gunshots. As he went, he asked, “Where’s the shooter? Where’s the shooter?”

Without a gun, Bourbannais did all he could. Stepping o…

The Christmas Story

The Nativity Story Today?

The angel Gabriel. The heavenly host of angels. Shepherds. A star. Magi from the East.

How different all this might be if this happened in 2010. Email. Facebook. Twitter. Google Earth. GPS.

Check out the video and let me know what you think.

Was it worth it?

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Jesus said) . . . "even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

Jennifer Lee and her husband, Keith, went into the mountains of Oregon to cut down a Christmas tree for their family.

They went prepared. They had a GPS, an all-wheel drive Subaru, and they had their phones.

They were prepared for almost anything … except for running into a snowdrift that just about buried their vehicle. When Keith tried to rock the car out of the ditch, he failed. Every time he rocked the vehicle, it moved closer to a cliff.

Out of cell phone range and not being able to get their car free, Jennifer and Keith became concerned. Nobody knew exactly where to find them. Nobody knew where to begin looking.

For days, Keith and Jennifer Lee waited and hoped for rescue. Finally, Keith had a new idea and freed the vehicle. In a short time, he and his wife were reunited with the kids. Speaking about her ordeal, Jennifer said, "…

The deficiency of Joseph?

Matthew 1:18-25 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us." 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded …