Tis the season to be Jolly

grinch

YOU KNOW SPRING, summer, fall and winter, but do you recall the most famous season of all? As a popular song proclaims this time of year, “TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY.”

It seems the “jolly-season” starts earlier and earlier because people just can’t wait to be jolly. Why do we wait until now to be jolly? For some, it’s hard to be jolly, even during the ‘jolly-days’. Folks who are off to war, or upset over a recent election. Still others find it difficult to be jolly because they don’t have enough money to buy more STUFF.

What is Jolly? Is it the ability to have more stuff? Is it the congested roads as we race across the country to be with folks that we hardly speak to at other times of the year? Perhaps it’s the dread of the extra pounds that we’ll ‘resolve’ to lose after the new year. The jolly season contains mixed feelings, especially as we consider unresolved goals and issues from this year.

The reality is this, a single season to be jolly is contrived. Being Jolly is an idea that should continue throughout the year. Especially among God’s people [1Peter 3:15].

Life is always filled with ups and downs. Instead of calling them problems, we ought to call them challenges. Everybody’s got them. Are we to wait until the challenges of life are gone before we feel jolly?

Jolly is the joy that springs forth from an attitude of hopefulness.  Jolly is a mindset, not a season. Jolly is HERE (point to head) not here (jiggle belly). Why do we wait for a season to be jolly? Are we going to go back to being miserable after the season is over? Perhaps our new year’s resolution ought to be jolly all year long. Is it possible? I believe that it is because God says that it’s so. Paul was joyful in prison, [Phil 1:18]. Peter taught of hopefulness in the persecuted saint, [1Peter 3:15].

When does JOY actually begin? Does it start the day after Thanksgiving, or does it start within your heart as a child of God? The eunuch, in Acts 8:39, went away ‘rejoicing’ upon his resurrection from the watery grave of baptism. Can a Christian be anything but joyful (jolly) regardless the time of year? As the ‘Grinch’ said, “What if (it) doesn’t come from a store? (Our joy) came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.” it was delivered upon a cross.

How can we be Jolly? Here are a few things to think about that may help us keep joy in our lives throughout the year: [Phil 4:8]

  • whatsoever things are true,
  • whatsoever things are honest,
  • whatsoever things are just,
  • whatsoever things are pure,
  • whatsoever things are lovely,
  • whatsoever things are of good report;

In the context of the above, can we also meditate on what goes well rather than what goes wrong? A habitual daily pause to look for the joyful things in life may be part of the answer to a perpetual joy. What is good, joyful or jolly…

  • About yourself?
  • About your life?
  • About your relationships?
  • About what you’re doing?
  • About the love IN your life? (notice I didn’t say love OF your life?)
  • About doing your BEST at what you do?
  • About knowing the reason why you get up every day?

The truth is, there’s no better time to be joyful, than today. Why wait for a season, a present or a person to make you happy? If not now, when? When the economy gets better? When people stop being mean? When the stars align? You’re not promised that much time [James 4:14].

I am resolving to be jolly all year long and I challenge you to do the same. Why wait to be happy, after?

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You’ll be shocked to know what one church is doing on Christmas

How’s that for a title? Did I get your attention? I’ve noticed that many websites use shocking titles to attract readers so I decided to give it a try. The trouble is, what I’m about to tell you is shocking for all the wrong reasons.

You see, our local congregation, The Frankilin St. church of Christ in Borger Texas, is NOT changing it’s services on Christmas day. This news is shocking because so many denominations have altered their services to celebrate a man made holiday instead of the God commanded commemoration of our Lord’s death.

Look at what was written to the 1st century church:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
[cr. Mt 26:26; Mr 14:22; Lu 22:19]

Many will rationalize their decision to cancel services by saying, “it’s for the family.” That sounds great, but what about the family of God? “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” [Gal 3:26]

So, we shall be worshiping the Lord, as He described, on the day He ordered, in the manner in which He authorized, to remember His death as He commanded.

Besides, when you think about presents, what is the greatest gift ever given which was given for the whole world?

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15

 

Local church cancels Christmas

…kinda, a church in Dumas, Texas has cancelled their corporate worship in favor of each family worshiping at home. Since Christmas falls on a Sunday, many churches are altering their normal worship times and services to accommodate the holiday. I learned about this through a Facebook discussion thread which involved members of this particular denomination and an evangelist who was simply wondering why.

One person said; “Many of our local churches are having only a worship service with no Sunday school or Bible study classes. Some are having no nursery or children’s classes. Some are having their services at a different time. Some are having music only, no sermon.”

Here is an explanation from one of the members of the denomination that has canceled their worship; “We have been preparing ourselves to lead worship with our own family and friends, in a small group setting as was done in the days of the early church.”

As the conversation progressed, the one who raised the question came under attack. Ironic, the very ones who were critical of any rebuke began rebuking the one who wanted to study!

What is the real issue?

Is the issue really about the public rebuke of a denomination? No, the real issue is where do we get our permission for worship? Let’s look at it this way;

Let’s say you had purchased a singing telegram service. This service is where people come to a place you decide, at a time you decide, sing a song you decide, for a person you decide. What is supposed to happen is that those people you hired (bought) are supposed to follow YOUR instructions.

What would you do if, however, they changed the plan? What if they change the time, place or elements of your desires? What if they go to the wrong place, or do the wrong thing or even worse, sing to the wrong person?

You’d demand a refund!

This is how many of us understand God regarding His worship…

  • He required it; John 4:24 MUST worship in spirit AND IN TRUTH.
  • He provided the instruction; John 17:17 His word is Truth.
  • He purchased the people for the worship; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • He ordered that His commands be followed; John 14:15; Mat 28:19-20, Mat 7:21-23
Unity

Everyone wants unity, and I’m no different. The question is, how? Is unity only a product of tolerance when everyone does whatever they want? Or perhaps, is unity a product of people following the instructions?

Am 3:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? (NKJV)

 

 

Mary, Did You Know?

THERE’S A POPULAR SONG that is played this time of year which asks the question, “Mary, did you know?” It’s a good question, for Mary, the mother of Jesus, had been keeping things in her heart, “Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart” [Luke 2:51]. Then, in John 2, she is the one who prompts Our Lord to perform the first recorded miracle. This song examines the question, what did she know?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?

Mt 14:26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?

Ac 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Ro 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

2Ti 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?

Lu 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, [Isa 61:1]

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm the storm with His hand?

Mt 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kiss the face of God?

Joh 12:45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.

Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Mary, did you know… Mary, did you know

The blind will see. Lu 7:21 And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.

The deaf will hear. Mr 7:35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

The dead will live again. Joh 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

The lame will leap. Joh 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

The dumb will speak. Mr 7:35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

The praises of The Lamb. Mr 7:36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?

John 1:1; Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?

Lu 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?

The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great, I Am.

Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

(insert your name), Did YOU know?

In John’s account of the life of Jesus, he points to the miracles and says, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” [John 20:31]. Do we know these things about Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ?

(originally by Mark Lowry (lyrics) and Buddy Greene (melody))

Can Mary Put in a good Word for you?

FOLKS ARE ENCOURAGED to pray to God through Mary as mediator. One false teacher said, “Praying to the saints is praying to God, in a fundamental way. We’re praying to those who can ask God to help us in our various needs in accordance with His will.” This false doctrine has many sidekicks, i.e., people pray to St. Anthony for lost items; to St. Jude (or perhaps St. Rita) for lost causes; to St. Gerard for motherhood; to St. Peregrine for Cancer victims; and to St. Dymphna for those with mental or nervous disorders, or epilepsy. For many years, the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel was included at the end of Mass for his help in defeating Satan.

This is not new, some have tried to make more use of Mary than God ever intended. On one occasion as Jesus taught, a woman cried out to Him saying, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed.” Jesus quickly replied by saying: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” [Lk. 11:27-28]. Mary was not and is not deserving of worship in any way. She is not deity. She was a humble servant of God [Lk. 1:38], as we all ought to be. Only God is deserving of worship [Acts 10:25-26; Rev. 19:10, 22:9]! Neither is she our mediator. Only Christ serves in this role, and He is our only arbiter between us and God [Job 9:33; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 1Tim. 2:5-6; 1Jo 2:1].

While she served a very important role, she is unable to add to our prayers today. To elevate her or to glorify her in some divine way is error. We can approach God’s throne through prayer but only if we’re IN CHRIST [Heb 4:16]. Let’s learn from our True Mediator, he ended this false doctrine.

Please everyone Lose everything

donkey

THERE WAS AN OLD MAN, a boy and a donkey. They were going to town and the boy was riding the donkey, with the old man walking alongside.

As they rambled along, they passed some old women sitting in the shade. One of the women called out, ”Shame on you, a great lump of a boy, riding while your old father is walking.” The man and boy decided that maybe the critics were right so they changed positions.

Later they ambled by a group of mothers watching their young children play by the river. One cried out in protest, “How could you make your little boy walk in the hot sun while you ride?!” The two travelers decided that maybe they both should walk.

Next, they met some young men out for a stroll. “How stupid you are to walk when you have a perfectly good donkey to ride!” one yelled derisively. So, both father and son clambered onto the donkey, deciding they both should ride.

They were soon settled and underway again. They next encountered some children who were on their way home from school. One girl shouted, “How mean to put such a load on a poor little animal.” The old man and the boy saw no alternative. Maybe the critics were right. They now struggled to carry the donkey. As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the confused animal and he fell to his death in the river.

You know the moral of the story, if you try to please everyone you will never know what to do, it will be hard to get anywhere, you will please no-one, not even yourself, and you will probably lose everything. We can say it another way, DON’T SET YOURSELF ON FIRE TRYING TO KEEP OTHERS WARM.

We spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think about us. We are continually perplexed because we can never please everybody. The English poet, John Lydgate once said, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. Another problem that arises from seeking others approval, is when we find out that they weren’t thinking about us at all. STOP TRYING!

We ought rather, to strive to please God and do unto others as we would have them do unto us [Mat 7:12], instead of worrying about someone thinking us foolish. There is a lesson here for all of us. We will be happier if we learn it.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.” [1Cor 4:3-4]

There comes a point when you must realize that you’ll never be good enough for some people. That’s their problem. The only One from whom we need any approval is God and He always knows what is right and what is in your heart. [Heb 4:12; cr. John 8:29; Rom 8:8; 1Cor 7:32, 10:33; Gal 1:10; Php 4:18; 1Thess 2:15; 4:1; 2Tim 2:4; Hebrews 11:6; 13:21]

“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” [2Corinthians 5:9-10]