GET TOGETHER-  GO FROM OPPRESSION TO VICTORY

GET TOGETHER-  GO FROM OPPRESSION TO VICTORY

1Sam 17:3 ¶ Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”

            Sometimes Israel had a hard time handling success.   They would often be drawn into the worship of the Canaanites god’s and goddess’s . It was appealing to them. These religions often featured temple prostitution and sexual acts that were performed in fertility rites. They were very appealing to the flesh. Jesus had this to say about our flesh. That it  is weak and that we must be strong in the face of temptation in  Mt 26:41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

            But just like how a fisherman uses a shiny bait to get a fish on the hook, into the boat and then into the frying pan. Satan will use lust and other things as bait to get God’s people off the path that God has for us. But praise God that when God’s people repent of our sins and turn to him then He is ready to restore and to grant us victory over our adversary.

            Those same demonic spirits that were operating in Canaan, are operating in our culture today.  They are trying to entice and lure children at an earlier age and to continue to tempt people throughout their adult lives.     Israel had suffered the consequences for her sins. She was ready to repent and to turn back to God. When a person, an institution, or a nation is ready to do that God will forgive and God will restore. 

Israel repented and Revival came. When Israel repented the nation was able to experience the covenantal blessings that God had promised her. 1Sa 7:4 So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only.

Israel demonstrated it’s repentance by gathering at Mizpah. The Prophet Samuel prayed for them. They prayed and fasted.  This stirred the enemy up. 1Sa 7:7 ¶ Now when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel had gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines.” The enemy doesn’t like it when God’s people turn from idols and turn to Him. 

The people got in fear, but rather than returning to the idols that they had previously been worshipping they moved closer to God: v.8 “So the children of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”  Then Samuel offered up a lamb as a sacrifice; 1Sa 7:9 And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. Then Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him. He intercedes on their behalf. 

            Wow! That made me think of another time that a lamb was offered up as a sacrifice.  That Lamb had a name! His name is Jesus! He died on the cross so that men and women can turn from their idols and come into a relationship with the true God. This true God is Holy. He is not like those demonic impostor gods and goddesses that were in Canaan. He is not seeking for people to perform perverted sexual acts to please, or appease Him. He is seeking a people that will turn to Him with our whole hearts. 

God responds to Samuel’s payers and to Israel’s repentance and fasting by bringing forth a big victory: 1Sa 7:10 –12Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”

            For some of us we may have never turned to Jesus Christ and are still clinging to the empty promises that Satan is selling in our culture today. The Lord wants you to know that if you will turn from that lifestyle of sin that He is ready to forgive you and to give you life eternal and life and life more abundant.

            Some of us may have at one time committed our lives to the Lord, but the journey got discouraging and you returned to a life of the temporary pleasures of sin. For others we may be in a spiritual battle and the enemy is either tempting us to come back to the temporary pleasures of sin, or threatening us in some way.  God is saying draw near to me and I will draw near to you. No matter what is going on we want to be in the will of God and in a Holy Spirit filled Philistine conquering relationship with Jesus Christ.

Let Us Pray

Lord we live in a nation that You have blessed mightily. Forgive us for when our passion has been for other things greater than it has been for You. Forgive us from the idolatry of self. Please turn this nation and all of us from the things that displease You. We know that when are lives line up with the will and desire of God that you will bless us. You will protect us, and You will prosper us.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Love you all! Your Friend/Kinfolk

 

Preston 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            

 

GET TOGETHER-   EXPECT GOD TO DO SOMETHING

GET TOGETHER-   EXPECT GOD TO DO SOMETHING

Isa 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

 

           We live in a culture that throws a lot of bad news our way. We live in a culture that is often hostile to the Christian worldview and living a Biblical lifestyle. It can really get easy to be so focused on the bad news and some of the ungodliness that we see and hear about in our communities, our nation, and the world that we can get our eyes off of the Lord. As I heard a wise Preacher say not too long ago, we can become wave watchers like Peter was when he took his eyes off of the Lord and began to sink Mt 14:30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”.  And yes, I agree at least Peter did get out of the boat. 

             A couple of weeks ago J.J. and I were on I-22 between exits 14 and 16 here in  Hamilton.  We had just finished praying for someone that was very close to us when an eagle flew just to the right of our car.   When this happened, we felt like the Holy Spirit was using the eagle to give us an assurance that God was honoring our prayer and that our sister would be healed. 

            Later on, I also felt like the Holy Spirit was impressing upon us  that God was going to do a great work in the I-22 Corridor. Not just in one congregation, but in many. Not just in one town, but in several. 

            Some of us may be weary from praying for a long time for God to bring Revival and Renewal into our lives and the life of the church. Some of us may be weary from praying for God to bring an awakening to our culture that will as the Scripture says in  Ac 26:18 ‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'(NKJV)

            There is a promise for those that expect that we will mount up with wings like eagles. Are you expecting God to do something? Are you praying for God to move in a powerful way in our culture? If you are then be expecting God to answer those prayers. We will run and not grow weary. We can most assuredly  expect God to answer our prayers. He said in Jer 33:3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.‘ (NKJV) When we call on Him with a pure motive, we can expect God to come through for us and to do great and mighty things. 

            We are hearing so many good reports about what God is doing in congregations in our region, and in this Corridor.  We believe that we have only seen a foretaste. Be expecting!   Jesus gave us these words so that we can expect victory when it may look like we are being defeated Joh 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”(NKJV)

            So today as you pray for our churches, our communities, our nation, and for those who oppose the Gospel pray with an expectancy that God is going to come through in a big way. Pray that there will be a mounting up of His people. Pray that there will be a mounting up of those who are dead in trespasses and sin. Expect God to come through! I remember a book that our good friend and dear brother Steve Sampson wrote; “Those Who Don’t Expect Anything Will Never Be Disappointed.”

Expect! Expect, Expect!

Let us Pray

Lord we thank you that signs and wonders follow those who believe in Your Name. Thank You that from time to time that You use things in your creation to remind us of Your faithfulness. We thank You today that You have given us this word in Isaiah to encourage us to keep moving forward and to expect victory. Help us to never doubt, and to expect You to do great and mighty things.

In Jesus Name

AMEN

 

Love you all! May you mount up with wings like eagles and run and not grow weary!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston 

 

 

 

            

            

 

GET TOGETHER- THIS IS WHO HE MADE YOU

GET TOGETHER- THIS IS WHO HE MADE YOU

1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (NKJV)

            First of all, I would like to be sure that the Lord gets all the glory for what I believe that He would have me to write about today.  Before we come to Christ no matter what the world may think of us, we are sinners that are lost and have no hope for the future.  It doesn’t matter whether we may have been materially rich, materially poor, successful in the world’s eyes, or unsuccessful in the world’s eyes. We were all lost. The Bible tells us in Ro 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (NKJV) And the Bible tells us what the future of the lost sinner is in Ro 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NKJV) But did you also notice in that last passage that there is a gift there for the repentant sinner. It is eternal life. Eternal life begins the moment a person repents of their sin and calls on the name of the Lord to be saved. And eternal life is not only now, but it is forever.

            As we live eternal life here on earth, we get a new identity. As Peter writes about, we are now a royal priesthood.  Jesus paid the price on the cross at Calvary for us to get that new identity: Eph 2:13” But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (NKJV)  In the Old Testament Israel was called to be a nation of priests and a holy nation. Ex 19:6 ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.   As New Covenant people we are serving is His Kingdom as priests. We are told this in  “Re 1:6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (NKJV)

            We are a chosen generation. What an honor that God has chosen us to serve Him.   When He chooses us, we want to answer Him by saying yes Lord I will serve You.  The Greek term for royal here is basileios. It means to be kingly in nature. As God’s priests called to a holy priesthood, He has given us spiritual authority in the spheres that He calls us to serve Him in.  We have victory over sin, the devil, and the world.  God has called us to serve Him. That means in our families, schools, workplace, all areas of ministry, and again where ever we may be. We serve Him and walk in the authority that He has bestowed upon us. 

            As priests we are called to offer spiritual sacrifices to God: 1Pe 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NKJV) We do this through prayer. In our private prayer time. In our time praying with others, and as we go throughout the day.  We are told in Eph 6:18” praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”   The Apostle Paul tells us in 1Th 5:17 “pray without ceasing.” We also do this through worship when we sing His praise and worship Him for who He is.

            In our new identity the unholy has been made holy. The Greek term for holy is hagios,  hag’-ee-os. It means consecrated, pure morally blameless.  We have been made holy by Jesus death and resurrection.   God is imparting holiness to us as we grow in Christ. We experience transformation in those areas of our life that are not reflective of Jesus Christ.  God is lovingly and gently at work in those areas of our lives bringing transformation.  The Apostle Paul wrote about this in Ro 12:1,2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Now others can see that new identity in us.  Others will be able to see what happened to us when we were born again! Others will see that we now have a new identity!  After all, after we come to Christ we are a new creation as the Apostle Paul wrote in 2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  And as His priests we use our new identity to offer Jesus Christ to a lost and hurting world that needs Him so bad. 

Child of God don’t let the devil convince you that you are a nobody. Don’t let the devil convince you that you are not significant. If you are born again you have been given a new identity that was bought with a very high price. Rejoice that in your new identity as a royal priest, and as a citizen of a  holy nation that Jesus has done something for us that we could never do for ourselves!

Let us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank You that You have given us a new identity. We thank You that we are not who we use to be. We thank you that You have entrusted us as Your representatives on this earth with a holy calling. Today we pray that you will help us to continually grow in Christ in such a way that others see that new identity in us and desire to have one too.

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

Love you all!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GET TOGETHER-  Don’t Tear The Foundation Down 

GET TOGETHER-  Don’t Tear The Foundation Down 

Mt 7:24-29 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:”and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (NKJV)

            A few weeks ago, we had a new roof put on our house. This past Saturday during the storms some shingles blew off of our new roof. Thankfully the roofer came out this past Monday and replaced those shingles. The good news is that out house was still there. 

            On the other hand, if someone came by with a wrecking ball and began to knock the concrete blocks that are the foundation of our house down the results would not be quiet as good. Our house would fall down. And we would be left with a big mess.

            In this passage Jesus talks about the importance of us building our spiritual house on the rock and not on the sand. He is our Rock. He is the Rock of our salvation. He is the chief cornerstone of our salvation, our spiritual house Eph 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” (NKJV) There may be some things that need correcting by the Holy Spirit in our lives.  However as long as He is the chief cornerstone of our foundation the house will not fall. 

            I think that is true as well for any nation. If He is the chief cornerstone that nation will not fall.  I don’t consider what I am about to say to be a political statement, but a word from the Lord.  A nation may have not been perfect during its history. The wonderful nation that we live in certainly has not at times. On the other hand, when a nation is not perfect, but Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone on what that nation believes He will honor that and He will bring correction where it is needed and help that nation to walk in the will of God. However, any individual, nation, business, or any other thing that is not built on Hm is built on sand and at some point, that house will come crashing down.

           So today let me ask you a question. Is your house built on the Rock, or on the sand? Is your business built on the Rock, or on the sand? Is your family built on the Rock, or on the sand? Would you pray for our nation? I am not asking you to do anything, but pray that this nation be built on the Rock and not on  the sand.  

 

Let us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank You that You are the Rock of our salvation. We pray today that You will help us to walk in the assurance that when the winds howl and the rains come down that as long as our house is built on You that it will stand.  We pray for our nation today that there will be a Holy Spirit awakening in this nation. We pray for all that have built on the sand to come to that place where they decide to build on the Rock.

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

Love you all! 

Your Friend/Kinfolk 

Preston 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GET TOGETHER – FRESH STARTS AND NEW THINGS

GET TOGETHER – FRESH STARTS AND NEW THINGS

2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV)

I don’t know about you, but I love fresh starts and new things. I can remember sometimes when I was younger and playing sports that after I had messed up doing a drill in practice the coach might say okay, we are going to start all over from the beginning. That would give me hope that I had not messed up so bad that I would be kicked off of the team.

Many of us probably got some new things for Christmas. I always enjoy that. Our children both gave us something new. That was very special for J.J. and I both. Now all of us are getting ready to move into a New Year. A new year can mean a fresh start for us in some ways. It can also mean that there will be a time for new opportunities in the Kingdom as we serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

One thing that I really like about the passage that I have shared with you today is that there is a great promise for the sinner that has repented of his, or her sins and have given their lives to Jesus Christ. There are perhaps many people like me that lived a very sinful life and would feel like there is no hope to be forgiven and to have a relationship with God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us that once we have been born again that we have been forgiven of our sinful pasts. I know that the following is a lengthy passage of Scripture. But if you are out there and you think that you have ruined your life and that there is no hope for you, I pray that you will read this passage and surrender your life to Christ and let Him to a new thing in you.

“Eph 2:1-8 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

For those of us who have been saved I pray that as we go into a New Year that we will ask the Lord for new opportunities to get the old old story out to a culture that needs Jesus Christ so bad. I pray for all of us that we can know that our sinful pasts are behind us and that God desires to do a new thing in us, through us, and for us. When He is in it nothing can stop us the word tells us in “Isa 43:18 -20″Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen.”

So today there is mercy for those who will repent of their past’s sins. There is a new life. A life of forgiveness. A life of new opportunities, a life of restoration, and reconciliation. For those who have been following Christ faithfully may He do a new thing in our lives. So that we will experience Him in a greater way in the coming year than we ever have before. Ask the Holy Spirit to be with you as you go into this New Year. Jesus promised us that He would in Joh 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Let Us Pray

Lord first of all we thank you for the Divine mercy that You have shown us. We pray today for any that read this that have not repented of their sins and received this mercy that You will use this to draw them to that relationship with You. For all we pray that these will be blessed with opportunities for fresh starts and new things! May all of us be used in 2020 to bring glory to your Holy Name

In Jesus Name

Amen

On Behalf of J.J. and myself we pray that you have a blessed and prosperous New Year!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- A THEOCRACY IS COMING

GET TOGETHER- A THEOCRACY IS COMING

Isa 9:6,7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

There have been many different governments in the world. I am not here to enter into a political debate. I am here to tell you about a perfect government with a perfect ruler. There have been and still are governments with dictators. There have been and still are monarchs’ where the head of the government is either a King, or a Queen. There are Democracies, Republics, and Democratic Republics. There have been and still are Communist governments. But one day there is going to be an eternal perfect form of government.

That will be when King Jesus returns to rule and to reign forever and ever with His saints. The definition of a Theocracy is a government that is believed to be Divinely ruled and guided. There are some nations that allow no other religion to be practiced in their nation. They would regard themselves as theocracies. However, they are not worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ who is the true King of the Universe. So therefore, they may appear to be theocracies, but they actually are not. I am talking about Saudi Arabia, Iran, and most other Muslim nations.

But as Isaiah prophesied over seven hundred years before Jesus came to the earth and was born in a manger in Bethlehem there will be a true theocracy and He will reign as King forever and ever. Isaiah tell us that the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. He came as a baby in a manger that first time. We celebrate that this time of year in a very special way. It allows us to preach and teach about the incarnation of Jesus Christ. It also allows us to preach and teach that just as His first coming was a real event so will His second coming be.

Jesus promised that He would return one day. Lu 21:25-27 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring” men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” It is impossible for God to lie. Jesus Christ is God the Son. We are told about His second coming in Re 1:7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (NKJV)

When He comes He will have the perfect government. There will be no injustice. There will be no strife. There will be no back biting. The funeral homes will be out of business! The hospitals will be closed! This is how the perfect government will effect those who belong to Christ : Re 21:3,4 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

When He came the first time there were some that weren’t ready and did not receive Him. King Herod wanted Him dead! The religious leaders at the time and the Romans would put Him to death. Some thought that He was crazy. Some said that He had a demon. But some like Peter said in Mt 16:16b, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Are you looking forward to living in this theocracy? Are you like Peter and know that He is the Messiah and that He will return to rule and reign? Or perhaps you maybe like some the first time that He came. I pray as we get closer to His reappearing one day that you are looking forward to living in that perfect Kingdom forever and ever.

Let Us Pray

Lord we thank You that there is a perfect government coming. We thank you that it is governed by you the perfect King. We pray today that at this time of year that those who have been born again will celebrate and be used to bring others into the Kingdom. For those that have not come into the Kingdom we pray today that You will remove the veil from their eyes as You did ours. So that they may experience the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living forever and ever!

In Jesus Name

Amen

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- The Perfect One Came To Earth

GET TOGETHER- The Perfect One Came To Earth

Lu 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NKJV)

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. It has not always been that way. To be honest Christmas became one of my favorite times of the year after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1990.

Before I met J.J. Christmas was a very lonely time. I would often try to fill those times of loneliness with sinful activities to try to fill that empty void. Christmas got much better after our children were born. The Holy Spirit was using them to help us to get to the place of the real reason that we celebrate Christmas. But I must admit it was still an anxious time for me. I was overly concerned about work during that time. I was uptight about what to buy for those that I wanted to give a gift to, and I was still playing with some things that were not good for me, or anyone else.

Some of those things that I mentioned are good. It is good to work. It is good to give gifts, because as followers of Christ we are to be a giving people. The Apostle Paul wrote about the blessing of working and giving in Ac 20:35 “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (NKJV)

But in 1990 I began to grasp the true meaning of Christmas and to enjoy celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I shared with a group last week. This is not a perfect time of the year. This Saturday will mark twenty-three years since my Daddy’s death on a sunny December day. It was on a Saturday that year. Just like it falls this year. During the Christmas season I have preached the funerals of children, and some of the most faithful brothers and sisters in Christ that we have ever had the privilege of serving the Lord with during this time of the year.

So, although this time of the year is not perfect. We can celebrate because the perfect One left a perfect place and came to redeem lost humanity. John describes it like this in Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (NKJV) The Apostle Paul says it like this in Php 2:7,8 “but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

One of the greatest blessings that I have had since I was born again in 1990 is Christmas Eve Communion. As a Pastor it was always a great blessing to experience the grace of God when you looked into the faces of those that you were serving on Christmas Eve. Some had been through some great times during the previous year. Others had been through some difficult time such as a spouse, a child, or a parent that had gone on to Heaven. It was a blessing to know that these walked in that type of faith. And that faith was a gift from God.

One of my favorite memories was either in our first, or second year at Bethlehem United Methodist Church. It was either in 1996, or 1997. We came into the Pastoral Ministry in 1996. I am not sure if it was the year of Daddy’s death. Which was during the Christmas season of our first year in the Pastoral Ministry. Or if it was the next year that we were there. Both of those years there had been some tough situations that either us, or someone else in the congregation was going through. Our daughter Jessye was either eleven, or twelve. The power was off at the church and there had been some snow. We would be leaving after the service to be with the Headrick side of the family on Christmas Eve night and to be with the Johnson side of our family on Christmas day.

Jessye asked me if she could help me serve Communion. The enemy had been really trying to discourage me and tell me that no one was going to come. What a blessing it was that night. We only had candlelight in the church. We didn’t have any heat. It was so cold that I could see Jessye’s breath one time. But oh, what a blessing! It made me think of how it must have been in that stable on that first Christmas night. They didn’t have power. They didn’t have heat unless it was a fire. I think that it was the first time that I ever saw Jessye wearing hose. She was dressed up in her Sunday dress and when I heard her pray over the people after they received the Lord’s Supper it was such a blessing.

The night that our Lord came to earth was a hard night for Him and His family. He was born in a manger. I heard a preacher on the radio yesterday say what a perfect place for a Lamb to be born. The Lamb that came to take away the sins of the world was born in a manger.

As we get closer and closer to Christmas day I pray for all of us that whether we are living in some of the most wonderful times of our lives, or some of the most challenging that we will see that the Baby that was born in a manger today sits at the Right Hand of the Father and that He lives in our hearts through the Blessed Holy Spirit. And because of that we can give Him praise in the good times, and praise Him in the challenging times!

Let Us Pray

Lord we thank You that you came to the earth in the form of a man. We thank You that we can celebrate Your birth because You lived for us. You died for us! You rose from the dead for us! You have given us the Holy Spirit! We praise You Lamb of God! Please be with all who read this. May all who have been born again be encouraged. May any that have not come to know Your goodness, Your love, and your favor be drawn to You during this very special season.

In Jesus Name

Amen

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU!!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston