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What does Christmas mean to you?

Most of us think of any number of things when it comes to Christmas! Right now there is the smell of an apple pie baking in the oven (thank you to my dear wife for that)! Maybe for you it brings to mind your family, your loved ones and of course to most children it’s about what will be under the tree. But the account of the first Christmas according to the Scriptures shows multiple lessons of one of the most important of all Christian responses - obedience. Both Mary and Joseph in their own individual encounters with the Lord had to follow Him in obedience to His plan. The shepherds had to obey in order to experience the wonderful blessing of seeing the Savior of the world come to be one of us. The Magi, later on, obeyed the voice of the Lord and returned to the own country by another way.

In the end, without obedience to the plan of God, the real meaning of Christmas is lost! But as the main players show, obedience to His plan is nothing but the beginning of something revolutionary!

Merry Christmas!
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Blame or Credit?

There are those who blame God at every turn. A bad day must certainly be God’s fault. A let-down in life leads many to one conclusion only - that God is nowhere to be found or that He alone is the cause of all the trouble. Besides, if He had been there all of this wouldn't happen. It sort of sounds like Martha when Jesus showed up just a little bit too late - after her brother Lazarus had died and already been placed in a tomb. Jesus didn’t even attend the funeral of His close friend. “Jesus” Martha said "if you have been here, Lazarus wouldn't have died." More than likely, she was right about that. But what Martha didn’t understand was that there was a greater purpose being worked out behind the scenes. An all-wise decision had been made; one that saw through all of the things that were going on in her mind and in Mary's mind and all the other minds present for the passing of Lazarus. (Read John 11 for the whole story)

God’s perspective of the situation is very different from yours. Martha was quick to blame Jesus. However, instead of blame what we really should be doing is giving Him credit (or praise) for the fact that in the midst of our trouble He is present. He told the people of Israel, and I’m paraphrasing, when you pass through the water I'll be there; when you go through the fire I'll be with you (
Isaiah 43:2). You don't need to be afraid I'm not going to get you out of it I'm going to take you through it and as a result of that we become stronger.  Trust him, don't blame him.  Give him the credit for showing up when you need Him most, right in the middle of your pain.

Here is one final thing to consider about Martha’s accusation that Jesus had been too late in getting there and had He been there, their brother would still be alive. Even when Jesus delayed and allowed His friend Lazarus to die without so much as a healing touch or even a spoken word to heal, the end result for Martha and Mary was the same as if Jesus had been there before Lazarus died. Lazarus lived (which was what his sisters desired most). Jesus wanted this result too, but not until His power could be displayed over our last great enemy, death. The divine purpose of God was fulfilled and the human need was met by the hand of a loving and merciful Savior. In the end, if Lazarus hadn’t died, Jesus could not have shown to those who had gathered there in that moment to mourn that He was (and still is) the resurrection and the life. So rather than assuming that God is absent from your dreadful problem, begin to thank Him that He is walking with you
through that difficult place.


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