The Journey Thoughts

December 19, 2016

Well, it's that time of year again, and boy, has it come quickly.  But if
you were paying attention before Thanksgiving, artificial trees were already
being sold, along with all kind of other things.   I hope you are ready this
year, and by that I don't mean have you gotten your tree up lately.  I
suppose it's time to review this very thing we do year after year and learn
once again the Scriptural view of whether a tree is good or bad.  The only
Scripture that can even come close to referring to a tree is Jeremiah 10:
1-5 which says, "Hear the word that the Lord has spoken to you, house of
Israel. This is what the Lord says: Do not learn the way of the nations or
be terrified by signs in the heavens, although the nations are terrified by
them, for the customs of the peoples are worthless. Someone cuts down a tree
from a forest; it is worked by the hands of a craftsman with a chisel. He
decorates it with silver and gold. It is fastened with hammer and nails, so
it won't totter. Like scarecrows in a cucumber patch, their idols cannot
speak. They must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them for
they can do no harm - and they cannot do any good. "  Now, the prophet is
really talking about idols that are crafted from wood, but the point is, can
a Christmas Tree become an idol, and be worshipped instead of Christ?  This
nation has become a nation that tries to prohibit, the involvement of Christ
in Christmas, for they hate God and are fearful to proclaim Christ in the
nation.  Yet, they don't say a word about the tree.  Many people who are
atheistic will celebrate the "holidays" with a tree, so where does that
leave Christians.  It's like anything else, that can become an idol if we
put more emphasis on the made thing instead of the real reason for the
season.  Jeremiah would go on to write: " Yahweh, there is no one like You.
You are great; Your name is great in power. Who should not fear You, King of
the nations? It is what You deserve. For among all the wise people of the
nations and among all their kingdoms, there is no one like You."  Jeremiah
10: 6-7 So the answer is go ahead and put up your tree, or not, for it can
do no harm, and it can do no good.  But if you put up a tree, ask yourself
the question. 'Why am I doing this?' Does it bring you closer to the Lord?
Do it bring Christ to the center of the focus in your family? Will it be
cause for you to stop and meditate on the Word of God and make sure that He
is the very reason why you celebrate.  If it is presents, what do they bring
you?  If it is food, what does it benefit you?  But to bring Christ to the
center of your Christmas celebration, is to ensure that He is the true
reason why you celebrate.  He is the reason, not the presents, the lights,
the ornaments, or the tree, but He is the Master of Ceremonies at the
celebration of His own birth here on planet earth.  He should be the focus
of every family gathering, for He is worthy of praise and celebration.  His
birth brought the love of God into life for us, that we could know that God
loves us and has provided a lamb, for the sacrifice of our sins, that we
would be considered clean once for all time, when we put our hope in Him.
You're on a countdown now, not to rush around and make sure you have last
minute things done and presents bought, but you are on a countdown of the
greatest gift that God has every given us,  His own Son, to accomplish those
few short years on this planet, and give hope to the nations.  He has
brought communion before an almighty God into view and we are to sing
praises to Him, and worship Him as Lord. Yes, you have a few good days left
before the celebration. Why not start today, by praising Him and making Him
the center of all your busyness. And yes, go ahead and put your tree up if
you want, but make it a reminder of Who's birth it is your are celebrating.

Pastor Andy

Heavenly Father, Help us Lord, to have the lights, the tree, the gifts, and
the food, all to serve as a reminder of Your great love for us.  May You be
honored today above all else, for You are worthy to be praised, and I praise
Your holiness right now, for the love You have for us, and the way You take
care of us.  You are a mighty God, and there truly is no one like You.  I
pray today for: Carol, healing; Michele, Pam, William, Carrie, Ada, Rheba,
Mary, Veronica, Douglas, Fritz, Dan, Dillon, Tara, Kristena, Kristen,
Carolyn, Gene, Terry, Angie, Isabel, Don, Dwight, Sammie, Lynn, Mike S.,
Barbara, Candace, Meredith, Abe, Ramona, Ben, BJ, Ida, JV, Eva, Kelly and
her son, Corbin, Robert, Pat, Ryan, Fred, Dotty, Scott, April, Tracy,
Abraham, Elijah, Japheth, Matt, Liz, Matt, Bethany, Mike, Megan, Jeff,
Laura, Tim, Alex, Ken, Lynette, Patrick, Kathy, Jennifer, Montella, Nancy,
June, Pastor Berkey, Harriet, Shelbi, Fisher, Marlaina, Cynthia, Loren,
Mike, Pam, Clara and Jerry, Gary, for Salvation and healing, Diane, Nada,
whose mother passed away. I pray for those traveling this season, for
safety. Father, Thank You for reminding us that Your Son is the center of
all our attention, for we worship His birth, and His coming, to be our
greatest need, and act of worship.  I pray these things in Jesus name.

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