Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” – Luke 10:41

If we want to keep Christ in any Christmas, then we keep our love of this world’s things out of it (1 John 2:15).  Otherwise, it is just a catchy slogan about Jesus, without much truthful teeth behind it.  Some people may already be encumbered, perhaps even overcome with many misguided worldly thoughts and financial worries about this impending holiday season.

With hearts and heads already wrapped around the earthly hustle and bustle the last few weeks of each year can bring along with them.  Concluding with the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas, when more visit emergency rooms than any other day.  When nerves finally get stretched out too far and too tight like an elastic band until they snap from all the strain.

Holidays can press upon a soul and create internal stress before beginning.  A barrage of Christmas ads before Thanksgiving may have already killed the so-called “holiday spirit” in many.  Still, a lot of people will likely feel they “have” to do all kinds of cooking and cleaning, send out cards, put up decorations, trim trees, and go visit special people – or have them visit.

It all harkens back to a story from Scripture about another special visitor.  No, it was not Jolly Ole St. Nicholas – but Jesus.  Christ had entered a certain village where two sisters named Martha and Mary received and welcomed Jesus into their home.  Right away, Martha set about in a whirlwind of busyness – encumbered with much serving around the house.

Most probably fixing a meal, doing some cleaning, and a bit of straightening up.  In the meantime, Mary simply sat at the feet of Christ, listening to the words God’s only Son had to say.  Well, it did not take long for Martha to get a little upset – because Mary wasn’t helping out.  Martha asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone?”

Christ answered her, “Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her (Luke 10:38-42).”  Matthew Henry once wrote, “Martha was for much serving; plenty, variety, and exactness.  Worldly business is a snare; keeping God’s Word from getting to our souls.”

Every season of Noel can bring mind-numbing and discordant noises not in harmony with heaven, nor in tune with His truth.  Along with laundry lists of what people think they “have” to do – trying to keep as many people pleased as possible (Galatians 1:10).  It can be exhausting if our heart is not right with God. Keeping up appearances; trying to seem “merry.”

Instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus like Mary and hearing what God’s Son has to say (Luke 6:46).  So, if we want to keep Christ in each Christmas, we keep the Word in it – and throughout our lives.  Otherwise, we’re always in danger of being overcome by bondage again to worldly clocks and calendars – observing days, months, times, and years (Galatians 4:9-10).

“The Christmas Guest” is a poem by Helen Rice.  It is about an old widowed man who owned a shop … and who almost missed the message of the season.  As the cock was crowing on Christmas morning, he was told by the Lord to expect His visit that day.  He had been busy getting everything “just right” like Martha did for Jesus.  Now, he waited to hear footsteps.

Sitting quietly inside his festively decorated shop, he listened carefully for any noise outside his window – not wanting to miss the knock heralding the arrival of Jesus.  However, Christ never showed up … or did he? The man rose in anticipation each time he heard a sound outdoors, soon followed by a knock.  Each time, he opened the door to three different visitors.

The first was a shabby beggar clad in ragged clothes looking for better shoes and a warm coat.  After he left, an old woman showed up a short time later, cold and looking for some hot food – and a place to rest (Luke 3:11).  The third visitor was a lost child who had wandered away from her home too far.  Each time the old man helped with a joyful and glad heart.

However, it was now getting very late and he was getting very worried.  Where was Jesus?  Heading off to bed thinking he had misunderstood the message about the promised visit, he prayed for an answer. Jesus replied, “Three times my shadow crossed your floor – three times I came to your lonely door.  For I was the beggar, the woman, and the child.”

The old man had not entertained angels disguised as strangers unaware (Hebrews 13:2), but Jesus himself. The cock crowed that Christmas morning.  However, he did not deny Jesus three times like Peter did – but had acknowledged Christ thrice (Matthew 26:34,75). Will we do the same this season, or will our worldly whirlwinds keep getting in the way (Hosea 8:7)?

Keeping Jesus Christ in our life at all times begins with keeping Jesus Christ in our hearts at all times. We can’t do this without being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  So when times like holidays roll around, we don’t put on a show of Christianity.  Rolling our eyes around in our heads as we put on phony smiles and false fronts, or speak fake words of love.

When we receive the gift of the Spirit from above, we become rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17).  We are returned to the Shepherd of our soul (1 Peter 2:25).  We receive a firm anchor for our spirit (Hebrews 6:19) so we don’t drift to and fro with this world’s motions (Ephesians 4:14) – all entangled in its deceits or cares (Mark 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).

So production of spiritual fruits He commands begins, as we grow up in His grace (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 3:18).  So we can show all others and God we are learning Christ from the inside out (Ephesians 4:20-32).  So our love is purified as it flows fervently and unfeigned to all, and is no longer purposeful lust (1 Timothy 1:5, 1 Peter 1:22).

So our hospitality is without grudging (1 Peter 4:9). So our charity is cheerful as purposed in our hearts – not out of worldly wants or desires to get something back while on earth (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8, Luke 6:35, 2 Corinthians 8:12-14, 2 Corinthians 9:7).  So God’s grace becomes sufficient always; so the power of Jesus may rest upon us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Otherwise, keeping Christ in Christmas, or any other season is nothing but a catchy slogan about Jesus with little truthful belief of His Word behind it.  This creates spiritual spikes and dips depending on what calendars dictate.  Leaving holes in the heart to fill up again after holidays are over, unless Jesus and God have truly been there all along (Ephesians 3:19).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– That at the time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope – and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus – you who were sometimes far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. – Ephesians 2:12-13

Loneliness is nothing more than a separation from God. – Billy Graham

It’s there in your heart – lying in wait.  You just hope it doesn’t hit – maybe hard like a howling hurricane sometime during this holiday season.  Maybe it will be while you’re out having a good time with friends – or at home hanging decorations on the tree with your family.  Without warning it strikes.  It’s too late to get out of the way.

A tsunami sweeps over your entire soul.  A tidal wave of inner and worldly wants, wishes, worry, or being without someone or something – washes over your heart.  Just for a second you feel lost and alone, despite having loving and laughing people around enjoying the spirit of the season with you.  Then – the wave is gone almost as quickly as it arrived.

What was in all that water?  Loneliness.  Tons of it – some coming in torrents at certain times like Christmas.  Loneliness is an emotional state of emptiness.  It’s a complex and often confusing condition where one experiences a powerful feeling of sadness – caused by separation from people or pursuits in life.  It can be a passing period for some – or a persistent pain in others.

In a spiritual sense – we are all born lonely upon this earth.  We are alienated from the Almighty through our inherent ignorance about the eternal wages of sin (Acts 17:30, Romans 6:23).  We begin with our desperately wicked and deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9).  We start our lives separated from our Savior forever by such things (Ephesians 4:18, Colossians 1:21).

We are like aliens in a strange land (Exodus 18:3). Estranged from God by the enmity of sin and our carnal nature – lost and lonely in this world without the Lord and His Word (Romans 8:7, lead passage). Staying friends with the world is staying in enmity (a state of active opposition) to God.  We are enemies of God if we remain this way (James 4:4).

However, the world will try to lead us astray in this regard.  Most of us are surrounded at the start by loving family and friends as children.  Life soon gives us lots of things to do and learn.  Many people await to meet and befriend, whom we can surround ourselves with when we’re glad or sad.  All which can give us the outside illusion we shouldn’t feel alone inside.

Still, mankind has tried all kinds of worldly solutions over the centuries to combat any feelings of inner loneliness – by external means.  To remedy a longing to belong – to finally feel truly and eternally loved once and for all – without being lied to.  These attempts can lead some down many broad and destructive paths (Matthew 7:13).

People can seek comfort and companionship in other people – to ease their loneliness.  When this becomes too difficult or demanding on a day-to-day basis – or ends up being hurtful in the end, they can seek to numb feelings of inner isolation with things.  Things which don’t respond emotionally – or which question motives.

Some turn to careers, some to money, and some to the bottle – all attempts to feel less alienated; less alone.  They all may seem to work for a while – sometimes a very long time.  But, they cannot penetrate the human heart – they just feel like they do.  As Billy Graham once said – they all make great fire escapes, but terrible fire extinguishers.

The disciples had to be troubled when Jesus told them he was going away to be crucified – for Christ had been their companion and comforter for over 3 years.  Where Jesus was going, though – they could not go (John 13:36).  However, Christ promised them they would not be left comfortless and alone after he left (John 14:18).

Another Comforter would have to come to the disciples after Christ’s death and resurrection – which was the Holy Ghost (John 14:26).  To give them inner peace forever – to remedy and replace the passing or persistent pain of loneliness (John 14:16). We all have this same promise of hope today.  To keep our heart’s fear of being left alone at bay.

If we say we are Christians, then we have been born again of the Holy Spirit.  The middle wall of partition between our hearts and heaven was broken down when God gave us the gift of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 2:14).  Our Father’s love was shed abroad in our hearts for the first time – as He commanded His light to shine out of the darkness (Romans 5:5, 2 Corinthians 4:6).

When we were lost and unbelieving, we were without God in the world.  It doesn’t mean He wasn’t with us – He just wasn’t dwelling within us yet.  We were made nigh again to our heavenly Father by the blood of Christ shed at Calvary (lead passage) – so we wouldn’t have need to seek worldly answers anymore to questions of “why do I still feel alone sometimes?”

If we say we are born again believers, then we have the crucified Christ continually residing in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost (Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 3:17).  Just like the disciples, we have a constant comforter in Christ.  To keep us from feeling so alone in the world.  For His Word which became flesh as Jesus – dwells within our fleshly vessels (John 1:14).

We have a friend in Jesus who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).  So we’re not bothered by loneliness so much – perhaps when we’re lying in bed at night after the busy-ness of the day has died down.  After all our activities may have temporarily alleviated any aloneness we might have been feeling deep inside.

Jesus is our mediator as Christians.  A middle man between God and ourselves, between the world and the Word, between our hearts and heaven (1 Timothy 2:5).  So we might call on Him in the middle of the night and talk with Him, when the world might be making us feel lonely again.  So we don’t call up friends at 3 AM instead – even those of the faith – who might be feeling the same way.

Our Father up in heaven is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3).  Christ completes this by dwelling in us as believers.  To keep our hearts and minds, and give us a constant peace from God which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).  To console us and make us feel less unhappy when we are afflicted by any loneliness.

When we have found our true comfort in Christ – then we can tell the lost, lonely, and comfortless about our Lord – the shepherd and bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).  To share the news about the One who never leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5).  So we can lead them all to the Cross and Christ – so they are not left alone and alienated from the Almighty forever.

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