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Christmas Carousel 2011

The Nativity of Jesus

The Nativity of Jesus

Christmas Carousel 2011

by Authors:

Lily Brenner, Alberta Fisher, SeashoreMary,

James Fields, Ula Gillion, Deborah H. Bateman

and bonus eBook from Eliza Earsman

Welcome to Christmas Carousel 2011!

We, as authors have been gifted by the Lord Almighty, artistically, in the art of storytelling as Jesus Christ did in ancient days:

  • ‘All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the LORD has commanded’. (Exodus 35:10)
  • He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works. (Exodus 35:35)

With that in mind we bring Christmas Carousel 2011 as a gift unto the Lord during this holy season which also fulfills the Lord’s mandate to preach the gospel to the ends of the world:

  • Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year. (2 Chronicles 9:24)
  • And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)

Seven (7) articles have been provided for your enjoyment ending with a bonus free ebook.  The ebook download expires December 30, 2011.  We hope you enjoy this carousel:

Prince of Peace                    Mary’s Song                    Gift Him Your Heartbeats

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What Was Different            Our Greatest Christmas

About Jesus’ Blood?           Gift: God, The Son             This Baby Was Jesus

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Days of Elijah

ebook download thru December 30, 2011

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Blessings and Merry Christmas!

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Prince of Peace

Prince of Peace
by
Lily Brenner
Isaiah 9:6-7: For unto to 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, Counselor, 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 are many who hunger for peace! Peace of heart and mind, emotional peace in relationships, peace in everyday living and peace instead of war. “World Peace” as was stated in a movie by a beauty contestant. I believe that there will be no world peace as we hope for it, but there is that peace that comes from the Prince of Peace!
     Jesus is that Prince of Peace,  mine and yours, and can be for anyone who chooses Him as their Savior! He was born long ago and in a distant land, however He is always with us. He is the kind of peace we are looking for in this world of hurts and pains. Jesus brings with him the peace we need to journey through this world and He prepares us with peace so we can battle evil.
     Acts 5:31: Him (Jesus) hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
     I cannot speak for anyone but myself, what Jesus has done for me in the way of peace. I know how He has blessed my life beyond measure, especially in hard times, He gave me His peace. Jesus gives me peace in times of good as well, and oh how my heart rejoices in Him.
     This is the particular time of year He is given a lot of attention and He richly deserves it! My humble prayer is that we will all keep Him in our daily living once Christmas has come and gone.
     Blessings with the Prince of Peace in you.
A Baby Changes Everything
by
Faith Hill

Accountable Christian Encouragement

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Mary’s Song

Mary’s Song

By

Alberta Fisher

The passage of scripture found in Luke 1:39-45  NAS tells us that after the birth of Jesus is foretold to Mary Writing the MagnificatMary, she visits Elizabeth’s home for three months.  Both women were “with child.” What do you think they talked about?  They probably visited about the same things as any two ladies that are pregnant at the same time.

Mary did not have great status in life; just a young humble virgin girl engaged to Joseph, a carpenter.  I am sure Mary was experiencing a lot of excitement and joy after finding out from the angel Gabriel that she was to give birth to the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. It was during this inner reflective time that the scripture records one of the greatest songs of all time – “Mary’s Song”, also referred to as the “Magnificat”. As you can see from the scriptures, this song is full of praises to God.

Mary’s Song can be in the following passage from Luke 1:46-55 NAS.

  •  46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
  •  47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
  •  48 For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations   shall call me blessed.
  •  49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name.
  •  50 And his mercy is unto generations and generations On them that fear him.
  •  51 He hath showed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart.
  •  52 He hath put down princes from their thrones, And hath exalted them of low degree.
  •  53 The hungry he hath filled with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away.
  •  54 He hath given help to Israel his servant, That he might remember mercy
  •  55 (As he spake unto our fathers) Toward Abraham and his seed for ever.

In Verses 46-49 she tells of God’s concern for her and in verses 50-55, God’s concern and care for all generations to follow. Verse 45 gives us part of Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary, “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” As noted by Mary’s use of the past tense in the Magnificat, she believed it had indeed happened. This exemplifies her great faith.

We, too, can be used of God by exhibiting great faith and a willingness to put our faith into action. As you continue on in your walk with God, let faith lead the way. . . . for unto us is born a child!

Have a blessed and merry Christmas!


So You’re the Ministers Wife

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A Pastor’s Wife’s Journey

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Gift Him Your Heartbeats

Gift Him Your Heartbeats
by
SeashoreMary
Adoration of the Magi, Andrea Mantegna c. 1500

Adoration of the Magi, Andrea Mantegna c. 1500

  • And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

So here it is Christmas, the day that the Christians celebrate the birth of  the Lord Jesus Christ.  We Christians pretty well understand that this day December 25, isn’t the exact date of birth, but it’s been designated as an official day of celebration.

Father God gifted the world with his son Jesus Christ when He chose the Virgin Mary to give birth to His chosen one, the Savior of the Word, to redeem mankind from their sins:

  • 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. (John 3:16)

The first official offering of a human to God is by the patriarch,  Abraham, when he was instructed by God to do so:

  • Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:2)

Father God was teaching Abraham to give so that His principle of reciprocity could be enacted (to give to receive back from God–with God multiplying the return).

By Father God giving Jesus Christ to save mankind, He automatically generated His own principle–to receive man back to himself, multiplied!

Father God was planting (to put or set in the ground for growth, as a seed), to receive a harvest–man.

This giving principle is also known as sowing and reaping as seen below:

  • Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him. (Genesis 26:12);
  • That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. (Lev 25:11);
  • ‘This shall be a sign to you: You shall eat this year such as grows of itself, And in the second year what springs from the same; Also in the third year sow and reap, Plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. (2 Kings 19:29;
  • Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity And sow trouble reap the same. (Job 4:8);
  • Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. (Psalm 126:5)
  • He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail. (Proverbs 22:8);
  • He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. (Ecc 11:4);

Because of sin, God is the only person who will block the harvest as seen here:

  • They have sown wheat but reaped thorns; They have put themselves to pain but do not profit. But be ashamed of your harvest Because of the fierce anger of the LORD.” (Jere 12:13)

Restore yourself, turn from your sins, and God will reactivate your harvest:

  • Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you. (Hosea 10:12)

Jesus said regarding giving and receiving (sowing and reaping):

  • But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Cor 9:6);
  • Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Gal 6:7);
  • For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Gal 6:8)

By Jesus Christ giving up His life, we received salvation and He receives all those who want Him voluntarily.

Gift Him your heartbeats, give Him you.  Give Him and Honor Him of your worth, your family, your health, your finances.  Gift Him your skills, your talents, live to give to serve the Lord, so that you can receive back in a multiplied manner.

  • Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:24)
  • My heart rejoices in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. (1 Samuel 2:1)
  • A man’s gift makes room for Him, And brings Him before great men.  (Proverbs 18:16)

What Was Different About Jesus’ Blood?

What Was Different About Jesus’ Blood?

by

James Fields, Pastor

In all four of his biographies Jesus declared that his blood was capable of forgiving human sin. “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”(1) In addition to this bold declaration, Jesus promised, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (2) Jesus’ announcements about the qualities of his blood thoroughly shocked many of his disciples.(3) So what was different about Jesus’ blood? What made it unique?

He Inherited Blood Untainted By Sin

God didn’t create sinners. The first two humans shared their Creator’s purity of character and loving nature. Furthermore, he did not create them robots incapable of making choices and decisions. Regrettably, Adam and Eve willfully and deliberately turned against the loving God who gave them existence. “Sin entered the world through one man”(4) and infected all humans with proneness to rebel against God and his ways. None of us are accountable for Adam’s sin or the sin of any of our ancestors. However, we inherit their tendency to disdain the Lord and follow our evil ways. “For all have sinned.”(5) Things seemed so hopeless for the human race.

The God of hope came through for humanity by the virgin birth of Jesus. Without sexual union, God, the Holy Spirit, conceived Jesus in Mary.(6) So both Jesus and Adam are sons of God—one by creation and one by conception. The beauty of Jesus’ conception is this: he did not inherit blood contaminated by Adam’s sinful human nature.

Jesus was truly human like Adam before Adam rebelled against the Lord. Jesus was a fresh beginning, a new hope for mankind. Through Jesus we can be set free from our inclination to reject God and return to loving him with all our hearts!

Jesus’ Blood Remained Untainted by Sin
Jesus began life with blood unfouled by Adam’s propensity to act sinfully. From the moment of conception Jesus experienced heavenly Father’s sinlessness. On the other hand, Jesus was truly human and had to face numerous choices to either reject or respect his heavenly Father’s wishes and ways.

Remarkably, the Adam of Genesis chapters one, two and three had everything going for him. He was God’s creation and thereby shared God’s unpolluted nature. Idealic circumstances surrounded him. Peace and harmony made it easy to fellowship with God in private communion. God and Adam walked together as familiar friends.

Unlike Adam’s environment, Jesus came into a world filled with innumerable dangers, struggles and enticements. Nothing was easy for Jesus. Satan lurked on every hand. He desperately wanted to draw Jesus into his control. After all, had not the first man easily succumbed to a tiny temptation? Satan confidently expected the same from Jesus.

But we must remember that Satan isn’t the only source of temptation. Scripture refers to the human social system as “the world.” “World” doesn’t refer to planet earth, to terra firma. By “world” Scripture means the collective sinfulness of society, nations and cultures. So life on earth plunged Jesus into a sea of sinful people whose example he could have followed. But he didn’t!

Another source of our sinfulness lies within us. Even if there were no devil or sinful society, we face the task of defeating our internal inclination to think and act in ways that displease the Lord. Jesus did not inherit this weakness from Adam, but he could have yielded his nature to the thoughts planted in his mind by Satan. “Worship me,” Satan commanded Jesus.(7) This awful thought wasn’t sin. Jesus rejected it and therefore did not become guilty of sinfulness. Who knows how many times evil thoughts entered Jesus’ mind? What we know is this—he disarmed, defeated and destroyed every one of them!

The apostle Peter encouraged the followers of Christ with these words: “You were redeemed…with the precious blood of Christ…without blemish or defect.” (8) Yes, Jesus was the first and the last human to inherit blood totally uncorrupted by sin. Also, he is the one and only human who died with blood uncorrupted by the slightest evilness.

Jesus’ Blood Restored Power Over Sin to Us
When we place our faith in Jesus, his “blood…purifies us from all sin.”(9) Immediately a sense of guiltlessness lays hold of us, and confidence in God’s approval floods us. However, we need more than forgiveness of sins—we need power to quit sinning!

Jesus’ presence infuses us with divine energy to reject temptation to sin. Through his power we refuse enticement to walk away from God’s pleasure. The blood of Jesus delivers us from powerlessness and permeates us with powerfulness. We are no longer slaves to sin, but victors over it! Leviticus 17:11 states that “life…is in the blood.” Therefore, Jesus’ blood transmits to us his power to conquer sin and live righteously. We are winners!

Let us take courage in the blood of the one and only sacrifice sufficient to cleanse sin from every human. Praise God! Although sinners and sinfulness surround us, through Jesus’ powerful blood we “keep [ourselves] from being polluted by the world.” (10)

In Jesus’ love,
James Fields

Comfort & Encouragement Ministries
Footnotes:
1. Matthew 26:28
2. John 6:54
3. John 6:66
4. Romans 5:12
5. Romans 3:23
6. Luke 1:35
7. Matthew 4:9
8. 1 Peter 1:18-19
9. 1 John 1:7
10. James 1:27

Our Greatest Christmas Gift: God, the Son

Our Greatest Christmas Gift: God, the Son

by

Ula Gillion

The Holy Family with God the Father and the Ho...

Image via Wikipedia

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…And he will be called…Mighty God, Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9 portions of verse 6).

The above verse leaves little doubt that Jesus is God with us (Immanuel). No one else can be called Everlasting Father and Mighty God. There is only one God and He revealed Himself as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Now, if Jesus is the Mighty God, why did He come as a Son? There are many reasons, but I would like to touch on one: How he related to His Father as the Son. I believe that not only did He come to show us what the ultimate Father-Child relationship looks like, but also to show how we can have such a personal relationship with the Father. After all, He did say: “I Am the Way…no one comes to the Father except by me.” (John 14:6).

With His entire life He showed us the way to the Father. When we look at His relationship with His Father, we will find there are many lessons for our interpersonal relationships too.

From His example we see that:

  1. He treasured the presence of His Father because He loved Him. Prayer was not a burden to Him. He made time to be alone with His Father. “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed…” Our love for God should make prayer something we desire to do and not something we feel we must do.
  2. He never acted or spoke apart from His Father. He had complete trust in His Father. He also fully entrusted every new day to His Father. He may have had plans of going here or there but often He was distracted because of the immediate needs of people which came across His path. He would then stop to help them and continue from there. Because He fully trusted God to be in charge of every day, He never got irritated with people “bugging” Him with their needs. He didn’t feel pressed to be at a certain place at a certain time, and for that reason He could help whoever came across His path. He trusted God to work things out. “The just shall live by faith…” every single day. Can we trust God enough to work out every day for us, or is it still important that we “take charge?” Life is a lot less stressful if we can live every day knowing that our Sovereign God is in full control. Sure, we have schedules. Planning is important, but when we live by faith we don’t freak out when things don’t turn out the way we planned.
  3. He openly spoke to His Father about everything –joy, pain, delight, and He prayed for others too. We can tell our Father everything –He knows it all anyway J
  4. He had a spontaneous relationship with His Father. He made time to be alone with God but there were also times when He started praising God in the presence of His friends. There was nothing rigid or forced about His communication with His Father. It would be quite ridiculous if we had to speak to our earthly fathers in same way in which we pray sometimes. Imagine we speak to our dads only at a specific time each day and only for a predetermined period of time. We also adopt a different accent and suddenly sound like we were born in the King James era. Pretty ridiculous right? Jesus showed us the way to have spontaneous communication with God as much as He set the example for setting aside time for God.
  5. No matter how busy we get doing all those good deeds, we should never neglect to make time for those we cherish. We can easily get carried off with the tide of success and neglect our relationships. Sadly, many people discover too late in their lives that it was never about things, but all about people. A relationship is a living, breathing creation that needs to be constantly nurtured and one of the most important ways to keep a relationship strong is to make time for each other. Time with friends and time alone.
  6. Like Jesus always considered the name of His Father before doing anything, so we too can keep our relationships strong by always remembering that whatever we do will affect not only ourselves, but also the other people in the relationship –whether it is our family, children or partners in life. Respect for each other is essential for a strong and healthy relationship.
  7. Keeping secrets from each other is disastrous for a close relationship. We have to be open with each other as Jesus was with His Father. Yes, it isn’t possible to hide things from God and it is possible to hide things from people in our lives, but that is even more reason to be open since they trust us to be honest with them.
  8. Just as it is important to make time for each other, we shouldn’t forget that not everything we do together has to be pre-planned. It is important to have structure but we should always leave room for those spontaneous moments where we just savour the moment and enjoy those unexpected special times together.

Lessons from Jesus for Our Relationships:

In so many uncountable ways, Jesus Christ is the most precious Gift to humanity and we can never have enough words to thank our Father for the precious gift of our Lord. But even though we may lack enough words, this doesn’t stop us from thanking God and showing that thankfulness with the way we relate to Him and to others.

And with these thoughts I wish everyone a most wonderful, peaceful and joyful Christmas Celebration in the presence of our God and with our loved ones.

______________________________

Ula Gillion, Author

JesusCarriesMe

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This Baby Was Jesus

This Baby Was Jesus

by

Deborah H. Bateman

Adoration of the Child

Adoration of the Child by Gerrit Van Honthorst

With Christmas upon us I thought it only fitting to talk about the real meaning of Christmas, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. While we do all the things we do during this holiday season to celebrate, let’s keep our focus on what the real reason for the season is. It is not about decorating the tree, shopping and wrapping presents, family gatherings, baking goodies, or anything else that we do to celebrate, it is all about HIM!

Let’s go back to the beginning, when it was first discovered that Jesus Christ was going to be born into this world through a miracle of God. The scripture we will look at is from Matthew 1:18-25. Matthew tells about the birth of Jesus.

Mary was a virgin, chosen by God, to be the mother of Jesus. It was a miraculous birth, because Mary was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Think about how Mary must have felt when she found out she was expecting a child. She had never had a physical relationship with a man. Mary was engaged to Joseph, who was a just man. At first, Joseph thought he should put her away privately and not make a public example of her. But, the angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and confirmed that Mary had conceived of the Holy Ghost. He told Joseph, Mary was going to have a son and they should call him JESUS.

Can you imagine how Joseph must have felt when he had that dream? He was engaged to a woman who was expecting a baby that was not his. Then, he had this dream saying it was conceived of the Holy Ghost. How was he going to explain this to his family and friends? The angel also told Joseph that JESUS would save his people from their sins. This was the purpose of JESUS’ birth, from the beginning; God brought JESUS into the human race to be the Savior of the world. He used Mary, as an instrument to allow Jesus to be born as a human, so He could live in this world and ultimately so He could be the sacrifice for our sins. Think about the responsibility that Mary and Joseph must have felt. God had chosen them, they didn’t volunteer.

This baby was different than any other baby that had ever been born into this world. He was the Son of God. He was the Savior of the world. He would grow up and be crucified on the cross. As we celebrate Christmas let’s remember the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate the one whose birthday we honor today.

Scripture Reference:
Matthew 1:18-25 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for this account from Matthew about the virgin birth of your Son, JESUS. Thank You for sending Him to the earth to be our Savior. As we celebrate Christmas, help us to keep our focus on the true reason for the season. We love You, LORD. In Jesus’ name, we ask it. Amen

Things to think about: Can you imagine how Mary felt when she found out she was expecting a baby? Can you imagine how Joseph felt when he found out his fiancé’ Mary was going to have a baby even though they did not have a physical relationship? Think about the miracle God performed when He caused Mary to be expectant of the Holy Ghost.

Do you celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ?

Christian Music: This Baby by Steven Curtis Chapman

http://www.christiandailyresources.com/christmas_music_2.html

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Deborah H. Bateman-Author of
The Book of Ruth-A Story of Love and Redemption
http://www.deborahhbateman.com
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http://www.christiandailyresources.com
http://www.facebook.com/ChristianDailyResources.
http://www.daily-bible-reading.com
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