While the Worship Team practices on Sunday mornings prior to our Sunday service, I pray and read my Bible until the time that I need to go and greet people as they come to church. When I found out that I would be getting to church more than two hours prior to the service, I thought this would be such a difficult thing to do. To my surprise (of course, God knows everything) it fits like a favorite pair of old blue jeans. He knows exactly what He made me for so I need to be obedient when He tells me what I need to do. It will be the best for me! I should also add that my step-son has been blessed tremendously through his giving in this, besides the fact that he loves being a part of the Worship team.
(We got custody of my husband’s son when he was 13 in 1999. He turned 15 just 6 days following my brain biopsy. I was home with him through the rest of his schooling. I was sick but I was there. I believe most mothers would understand that I would be sick all over again to be home for him. We are quite close. Most are aghast when I tell them he is not my biological son. I don’t think that makes a big difference to God. He needed a mom who gave him more attention and I had been barren and in need of a son.)
I was sitting in our church yesterday morning, praying and reading my Bible when God led me to:
*John 14: 25-31 (NKJV) The Gift of His Peace “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 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. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.”
*John 14:27 is my very favorite verse *“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
So I assuredly paid more attention and my heart softened. God’s peace is what drew me. At 28, I had no peace. My body, mind, and spirit had been spinning, twisting, turning, and bouncing up and down for years. I fought everything before me. I fought the world. I fought life. But God reached down and gave me peace, His peace, which is not the world’s peace.
I decided to look up this verse in The Message version because I’ve liked this version like none since the New King James which has been my old faithful version for more than 23 years. But this morning I read John 14:25-27 in The Message: *"I'm telling you these things while I'm still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught.” And the tears came. And this realization came to me.
The definition of Christmas by Wikipedia can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas But is it more than this? In the Bible, one of the most important and highly memorized verses is:
*John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
But what does this mean? Many Christians are upset about so many in the world wanting to turn Christmas into something it isn’t. A commercial “holiday” – removing the actual “Christmas” name. I know I am one of them that is upset by this. First and foremost, Christmas is just that. It is first and foremost a celebration of Christ’s birth, therefore it is (Christ)mas. It is not some other holiday. “A worldwide holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Popular aspects of the holiday include decorations, emphasis on family togetherness, and gift giving. Designated a federal holiday by Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant in 1870.” From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_holidays_in_the_United_States.
So, with many of the world trying to take Christ out of the holiday, it is making it into something that it is not. To Christians, Christ’s birth means that we have attained salvation. He came so that we may have eternal life.
*1 Thessalonians 5:8-10 “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”
For me, along with all Christians even though some may acknowledge this more than others, the meaning of Christmas extends even further. And, I realized that this is a major part of why I am quite upset every year at this time by those who would make Christmas into something it is not.
Because of Jesus Christ I have salvation unto eternal life. I know my life does not end at the point of death but that I will go home to be in heaven with Jesus and all those who went before me. I know I will be spending eternity with my parents and other loved ones.
But, It also means to me and to all Christians, that we know we are not alone on this earth, NOW. We know Jesus lives with us through His Holy Spirit. Our life on this earth in the here and now is much more abundant.
*John 14:25-27 in The Message: "I'm telling you these things while I'm still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught.”
If Jesus had not been born, I would not have the Holy Spirit living within me today. “I don't leave you the way you're used to being left—feeling abandoned”.
To explain the ramifications of this would take me an entire book. I know after 23 years of KNOWING He is with me always has made such a difference in who I am. I would still love to shout it from the rooftops.
One of the first songs I found that says it how I feel is God by Rebecca St. James. (1996 - Lyrics: http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/lyrics/new/track.asp?track_id=322 )
I would also recommend reading books by Kenneth E. Hagin. All of his books are good and I read most of them. Some I read numerous times. To name just a couple:
“How You Can Be Led by the Spirit of God” at: http://www.amazon.com/How-You-Can-Led-Spirit/dp/0892765410/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I2OVXEIVY9YOVK&colid=1N7CUI3AO73LC
“Seven Vital Steps to Receiving the Holy Spirit” at: http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Vital-Steps-Receiving-Spirit/dp/0892760036/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324475170&sr=1-1
But, all of his books are good:
Also, 120 Kenneth E. Hagin titles available to include some on CD:
I'm praying that you all have come to the realization of what Christmas truly means!
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