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Archive for December, 2013

PAM CROPPED 2013

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It’s the dream of every pastor and faithful church member. The worship hour comes and the congregation and visitors fill the church to the rafters. There is standing room only. The life story of Peter Marshall is fascinating as well as motivational and inspiring.

 His dynamic preaching drew such large crowds that many were unable to worship inside the church buildings where he served. Loyal worshipers of Christ stood out in the rain and heard his message through loudspeaker systems. Oh, that today we would take such a stand against evil.

 God is not seeking bench-warmers; he has provided armor for protection against wicked forces and his word as sword. (Ephesians 6:10-20) With his armor and the Holy Spirit to empower us, we take our stand.

 “This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to persist in the evil day and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand therefore (Ephesians 6:13-14a HCS).” God wants no sitting down on the job, standing room only!

 

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PAM CROPPED 2013

Wishing upon stars is as senseless as knocking on wood.  God alone hears and answers prayers;  God, with great disdain notes wishing upon stars. He created the stars to serve as lights in the heavens above, not to grant wishes to those living below. One particular star had the role of ancient GPS,  God’s Providential Sensor.  It detected the exact birthplace of the King of the Jews.

BLOG 12-23

Wise men did not waste time or energy in wishing upon the star. They followed the light of the star, enabling them to worship Jesus, descendant of King David.  “I,  Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star (Revelation 22:16 HCS).”  

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PAM CROPPED 2013   “Twas the night before Christmas.”….

CHRISTMAS BLOG

So begins the lovely story told to children of all ages, the young and young-at-heart. I cannot help but wonder what experiences participants shared on that first night before Christmas. The night began like most for the common man, living out uneventful days from the cradle to the grave.

They were seekers of God, yet had no clear purpose in life and little hope for tomorrow. Yes, the devout Jews had heard predictions of a coming Messiah. Did they truly believe they would see the fulfillment? They were afraid to dream. Yahweh had given the promises so long ago. Why had He not fulfilled them?

As deliverer, surely He knew they were in desperate need of His intervention. Did He not care about the Roman government’s inhumane oppression upon them? Had He closed His eyes to their poverty? Surely, He perceived the feelings of emptiness that they had buried deep within their souls.

It was the night before Christmas…. It would be a special night, a supernatural still and “Silent Night.” The King sent out a taxing decree, demanding that the populace appear at their birthplace for counting in a census by Rome, in occupation of Israel.

In accordance to the decree, Mary and Joseph traveled far and long. They viewed the city of Bethlehem, birthplace of King and ancestor David on the horizon.  Their donkey, burdened by the weight of this expectant mother, moved slowly. Both Mary and Joseph were weary and worn.

Both keenly aware of the impending arrival of the holy child entrusted to their care, they readied themselves and sought out an inn. Unable to secure a room their apprehension grew. God in his provision worked through an innkeeper who made a stable available.

It would provide a place of privacy not frequently found in a public inn. Unlike most others on this journey, they had found shelter and a place away from prying eyes.  Mary, during childbirth, would experience dignity deserved by one highly favored by God. Mary and Joseph waited reverently for the arrival of the Anointed One, Jesus.

On that night, before Christmas….

Fathers eagerly await the birth of their first child. It is a moment of great pride and yet also one of tremendous responsibility. On the night before the first Christmas, God the heavenly Father took great pride in His Son, Whom had emptied Himself, to take on the form of man.

The fullness of time was approaching. Mary would birth Jesus, Son of God into the very world created by the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He made His entrance as an innocent babe. His Father would later use words of endearment, “my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” ( Matthew 3:17b KJV ) A star shone in the sky.

It is coming, December twenty fourth, another Christmas Eve…The night before Christmas. Wherever you and I spend that night, we should “Stop, look, and listen.”

Stop rushing long enough to take in the true meaning of Christmas. Immanuel, God with us! Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit is with us.

Look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. If you have never surrendered your life to Jesus, what better opportunity could you have than this Christmas? You can celebrate two births each coming Christmas, His birthday and your second birth.

You must be born again.(John 3:7 )

Listen to the children around you; They will tell you the story of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, animals, and angels. They love to share and act out the story. Take the time to listen. Hear the message of God’s everlasting love. Listen, do you hear the sound of the heavenly chorus? 

“Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger (Luke 2:10b-12 KJV).”

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                                                              PAM CROPPED 2013

12-11-BLOG

Each time I hear the “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” classic, I feel a twinge of the diagnosed homesickness disorder. My thoughts carry me back to my family home in Mycenae, NY. I visualize our living room decked out with tree, lights, mistletoe and gift-wrapped packages.  Another family now dwells there….

My parents sold the home place in the nineteen seventies. Though it is no longer the Ford home, it is still the first place that comes to my mind each Christmas. I relive all the Christmas sights and sounds, along with scents of evergreen branches and fresh baked Christmas cookies. A sensation of a warm cozy room is comforting. Time cannot stop my anticipated trip home.

I will be going home for Christmas through the gift of memory. I am saddened in the reality of family and friends facing their first Christmas following the loss of a loved one or a cherished friend. Holidays bring happiness and yet heartache as well. God gives comfort to those in need of renewed joy and hope. The dead, who had placed trust in Christ Jesus, are home for Christmas.

“So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 NKJ). We will be missing those dear to us terribly, but we find comfort in knowing they are home for Christmas.

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PAM CROPPED 2013

12-5-13 SNOW WHITE MEMORIES BLOG

I’m in a snow-white frame of mind. Gotcha! You think Disney, while I have a White Christmas flashback. It was Christmas time…. I snuggled under my electric blanket, mesmerized by Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. Snow-white scenes were reminiscent of Christmas’ in Mycenae, NY.

As a young girl, living in the rural area outside of Syracuse, I had the joy and excitement of many white Christmas.’ I will be the first to admit that snow is not always joy to residents in that area. Early morning risers must shovel or plow snow covered roads, sidewalks and driveways.

Highways and Interstates become danger zones; travelers are involved in vehicle accidents and easily become stranded in sub-zero temperatures in the midst of towering snowdrifts. Dazzling white snow becomes brown slush and New Yorkers fantasize making Florida their winter home.

A pure heart is no fantasy… “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7 NIV).” I remember my first Christmas after being born again. The Lord gave me the ideal gift, a clean heart and a White Christmas!

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