Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A LIFE LIKE AN EVER-FLOWING STREAM

..."let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:24)
This sounds like a beautiful kind of quote, doesn't it? It could even end up as a meme or in a Daystream greeting card that sells at Hobby Lobby or Walmart. But one look at what precedes it should send some shivers down the spines of many church attendees; faithful believers and even the growing number of "nones" these days. (The "Nones" being those who believe in absolutely nothing and they are the growing number of millennials and generations X, Y and Z).

Look again at the Lord Himself said in the preceding verses:

"Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!  Why would you have the day of the Lord? (verse 18)

"Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light and gloom with no brightness in it? (verse 20)
"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies" (verse 21)
"Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them" (verse 22a)
"and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them" (verse 22b)
"Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen" (verse 23)

Now let's look at the words highlighted in yellow and check their meaning:
Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! - Are you really ready for Judgment Day? It begins the split second just before we die, and when heaven or hell becomes real. if you are not certain of your eternal standing with God, do NOT wish to leave this life right now, no matter how difficult you and I may think it is, how tough it is or how financially broke you are. This is nothing compared to the eternity a person faces in hell, FOREVER, away from the presence of our Holy God. Those who believe in nothing, especially, should beware that coming day, because as sure as the sun rises in the east, that day is fast approaching.

Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light - all through the Bible, there are ample warnings of what the "Day of the Lord" really means. It is even called "terrible day of the Lord" in Joel 2:31, Zephaniah 1:14-15 and Acts 2:20. In case some Christians are wondering what that means, Jesus gave a preview which should scare us all. In Matthew 7:21-23 He warns that not everyone who calls Him "Lord, Lord, will be allowed into Heaven"... Not everyone who teaches Sunday School, goes on Missions Trips, feeds the hungry and even preaches from the pulpit will get into heaven. Why? Because they were never forgiven or repented or born again.

Therefore the Lord says this of those whose service in the church is all about what they do, how they feel and what they get out of their "Kingdom Word". God says:
I hate, I despise.....I take no delight (in your "work for me" in verse 21). He says "I will not accept them......"I will not look upon them(verse 22b)
"Take away...I will not listen(verse 23).

Those are hard words, and while many today do not, will not and have no interest in finding out if they are even true or not, if we could, ask those who have lived before us and are now forever separated from God. The great (in terms of man's greatness) French author Voltaire lived around the time of the French Revolution. One of his primary goals in life was to do away with not just the Bible, but Christianity. He predicted Christianity will be dead within a hundred years of his life. He hated Christ. He disputed the divinity of Christ and called for the abolishing of Sunday, so Christianity could be gotten rid of. On his deathbed, the priest in attendance asked Voltaire one more time, to renounce the devil. Voltaire's reply was "this is not time to make new enemies"! His house was later sold to the French Bible Society.

After the Lord gave all those warnings to His people through the ancient prophet Amos, one which still is in effect today, He gives an opening for us, if we can JUST SEE IT! Our Heavenly Father exhorts us to "let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream". In other words, if we just live right, according to the teachings and precepts of the Lord Jesus Christ, our lives would be like an "ever-flowing stream". This stream is like ones we see rushing down the side of a crisp green fertile mountain, where the cool clear water just rushes over the rocks down to the valley below....and never stops. It flows forever.

The Christian whose identity is found in Christ, who is redeemed, sealed by the Holy Spirit and living in the fruits of this Same Spirit, Who is God, will always be a constant source and font of peace, love, joy and grace to all around him/her - day afer day, night after night - year after year. This is the choice we have. The "Nones" and those who play games with God will face ALL of those things highlighted in yellow above, because they are written as a last warning for them. Those who fully rely on God, in Christ, will reflect His Justice and His mercies and love, which endures forever.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

RISE AND SHINE - TWO DISCIPLINES TO START YOUR DAY RIGHT

When is the best time to set your mind on a peacefully, happy and productive day? Of course, it is either before we physically get out of bed or the first act, thereof. Ideally, the first words of out our mouths should be words of gratitude to the Lord, that we made it another day. Each day many do not have that privilege and blessing, and of course, one day, it will be our turn to transition into eternity.


But for now, the best discipline after rising is not heading for the coffee pot but towards prayer. Prayer to the Lord Most High, Maker of Heaven and earth, Who regardless of what non-believers say, made the earth six literal days - yet He has existed from Eternity Past. His goings are from long ago, the Bible says. He is the Ancient of Days, the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and the End Who sees the end from the beginning.


As we progress in physical age, we do need to stretch when standing downright upright and push-ups, backstretches and more are the way to go. The best stretching, however, is the one we do in order to benefit our very souls. Here are just a couple easy yet sometimes difficult to maintain, steps to begin this process more productively. These are actually a better use of time to engage the Bible with your prayer life and not lose interest or the zeal to continue.

Most Christians who follow these disciplines will sit down and start reading a chapter in the Bible, or pick out something at random. Very few, but enough actually follow a Bible reading plan. Picking a book or passage of the Bible at random to read through and then pray sometimes only lasts THAT long for the average person.

The best way to do this is:
    -   Step 1: FIRST - RIGHT OFF THE BAT - read a Psalm in the Bible and/or start reading through the entire New Testament, one chapter at a time. The Books of the New Testament are not just shorter than those of the Old Testament, but their chapters are shorter and to the point of the Life, Ministry and Expectations of Christ. If you decide to read a Psalm, read only ONE Psalm per day, or 8 or so verses of another long one, and then, close the Bible, thereby getting ready to proceed to Step 2.

     -  Step 2: In this daily morning time, we continue in  our chair or quiet living room or study, and proceed to prayer time. What the reading of the Bible BEFORE praying does is to remove the tendency for our minds to stray off into la-la land and be easily distracted. The discipline (and it is a learned habit or discipline) engaged in here, focuses our minds and spirits right away on "The LORD says" in His Word, and no attack from the prince of darkness, who rules the air temporarily, can distract from this Truth! The other way, if you pray first and have a long list of requests for others and yourself, by the time you get to the Bible, the flesh and the mind are not in full alignment and the goal is to get this over with as soon as possible. If this is the case and a hard habit to break, it is better to continue with the Bible reading in the middle of the day at work, or during the lunch hour. This way, the Word of God is never disengaged from us, and we fulfill Psalm 1:2 where Scripture exhorts to meditate on the Word "day and night".

These two steps, when activated on a daily (preferable) or as much as possible, will not only enhance our Spiritual Maturity and Growth in Christ, but will, in very short time, become second nature. The key to enabling, activating and executing these two simple steps is Time. Each Christian can spare 5-10 minutes per morning to spend with the Lord in Bible reading and Prayer. He or she can most definitely spend that and more, during a busy day, if you and I prioritize, even if the kiddos are screaming for breakfast at 6:30 am and you are unable to find even two minutes to pray. 

Make time for the Lord, when you can. It is the best investment in your day, you can ever make. The stock market is not even a close second. Rise and shine, and give God the Glory - and watch Him grant you and I, His peace, grace, love and mercy. Amen.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

HOW TO GROW IN THE LORD DAY AFTER DAY







Many make resolutions to do this or that, as another new year rolls around when the answers are provided for us, way in advance. It is actually very simple - the Lord wants us to come closer to Him and to fellowship with, talk to and meet with Him daily.

To being this and any new year, we have decided to do something which will be easy to do, require no more than 5 - 10 minutes per day and can inspire our souls. It can also light a huge burning fire in our hearts to become will with a passion for the Lord in a new way, which may have not seemed possible before.

We start each day in this 31 Days of (short) Prayer for the month of January, by focusing on a different word daily. Then we look at the Bible verse associated with it and the explanation with it. This is followed by a simple thing or things to do that day or week, to get the most of this devotion, to pray and then to maximize its impact.

Some may do so by writing in the Bible margin or notes and some more are already using a prayer journal to record and track with the 31 Days of Prayer by monitoring their daily progress in the Word and Prayer.  

So click the LINK below and catch up with all which you have missed and then let this take you through the year, as you and I do the exercises associated with it:


A LOOK AT GOATS AND HOW NOT TO BE ONE

The legendary late-night television host Johnny Carson, who will never be replaced, no matter how many comedians try, had this joke one night. He said "There was this billy goat at a movie studio who found and ate a can of film. When a nanny asked him how he liked it, he said, "It was all right but I liked the book better." 

Goats are pretty interesting animals. I was speaking just very recently, to a friend, who could not wait to get a small farm in the Midwest so she can get pet goats and raise them for show.  I have seen amazing goats of many kinds over a lifetime, including being the owner of one as a boy. We kept the goats at my grandmother's house because we were not allowed animals where we lived, but quickly had to get rid of it as it kept butting me and chasing me out of the pen, each time I tried to play with or feed the thing. 

I have seen the mountain goats of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and
watched in amazement that they can stand on the steep mountain side, without slipping and falling. It is believed that there are 15 types of goats (according to Farmcradle.com) and they range from Alpine and Angora to Pygora, Pygmy and Yemenite (the latter gives us the great Shofar as found in the Bible). 

There are even some great goat sayings. For instance: ...so and so football team got "beat like a tied up goat" or "he goat this other guy's goat this time"! We even have a type of facial chin hair call a "goatee". But what does the Bible say about goats? Actually quite a lot. 

The Old Testament's best reference to goats is the Scapegoat. The Scapegoat was the vehicle, designed by God, unto which the sins of the Jewish people were cast by the Attending Levite Priest that year, as an atonement, and then sent  away out into the desert. It is from the Law of God given to Moses for the Israelites of the Pre-Christ era (CLICK HERE).

This is a foreshadow of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who paid the FULL satisfactory to God, price for sin, on the Cross of Calvary. He did this once and for all. Therefore there is not a need anymore, for scapegoats or any other of "sacrifice". All people need to do now, is to seek the forgiveness of the Lord, accept His finished work on the Cross and be saved. 

Because there is no need anymore for ANY other type of Sacrifice, the Bible tells us that "n
either by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He (Jesus)e entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh (Hebrews 9:12-13). For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins (Hebrews 10:4).


In all of this talk of goats above, and the Spiritual significance of goats in the Bible, there is one very critical and deadly serious mention of goats, which people - friends and family of yours and mine - should be wary of and actually correct immediately. We do this by getting right with God in Christ, through Salvation. 

ACTION:  Read the following verse, then search your heart to make 100% sure, that neither us or anyone we know, will be classified as a GOAT on the Great and potentially Terrible Day of the Lord - Judgment Day:
"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left". Matthew 25:31).

Sunday, January 13, 2019

TO BECOME A "LITTLE CHRIST"? (FROM ACTS 11:26)

When the people of Antioch (now in modern-day Turkey) thought they were mocking the followers of the new Faith System headed up by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by calling them "Christians", they did not know how right they were!

In Acts 11:26, we are told the following: "when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch". When the unsaved locals called them "Christians" as Dr. Luke records in this book of Acts, it was not an endearing term meant to honor these new disciples of Jesus. They called them, in a snarky and sarcastic way "Christianos"....or "Little Christs". In other words, just like today, these people looked down on these saints and basically said "bless their hearts, look at them....they believe in a Man nailed to a Cross Who lived in an outpost across the Mediterrean Sea, years ago. They can't even see Him."

Christianos - Little Christian
It is now 2000 years later. Many of us are not just little Christians, in the form of being mini-Jesus's but too many are little in mind, thought, word, deed and Bible knowledge. We can fix that now. The Bible exhorts us to the following: "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:5-8).

Do you want to be a "Little Christ"? Then the Bible tells us to do the following:
1  - Have the same mindset of Christ, Who KNEW the Father and what the Father's Will was.
2 - The Father's Will can be found in all Scripture, from Cover to Cover. Therefore, KNOW the Word of God through reading the entire Bible, no matter how long it takes, then asking the Holy Spirit to reveal everything through our reading and study of the Word.
3 - Be Humble (Jesus existed in the Form of God...because He was God, yet He did not hold on to His Throne in Heaven while yelling "this is Mine...and I am the King". He never did that. Jesus humbled Himself and died on a dirty Cross, killed by filthy and evil men - to do the Will of God the Father.
4 - Be Obedient. verse 8 above tells us that Jesus became "obedient to the point of death even death on a cross".  We must become obedient to the Will of God to the point of dying to ourselves in the sense of giving up our fleshly desires, lusts, ways and more.

So you want to be called a "Little Christ", let us be resolved to do ALL four of these items above in order, as laid out in Philippians 2:5-8 so that when we are accused by an unsaved world of being like Jesus, the verdict will be - YES I AM!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

SING TO THE KING - SING PRAISES TO HIS NAME

We know from Scripture that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people.  The psalmist writes in Psalm 147 verse 1 the following: "Praise the Lord for it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and the song of praise is fitting.

Then we skip down this same Psalm to verse 7 where the Holy Spirit inspired the writer to say "Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving, make melody to our God on the lyre." Why should we do that? Why should we sing and praise and shout and then praise some more? We do so not just because He is a good, good Father, but because we love Him for Who He is.

He is God. 
He is Creator of all things.
He is from times long ago...so long ago, no super computer on earth can calculate.
He is the Sustainer of all things. He speaks and worlds exist.  He commands and the winds cease.
He is Provider, Protector, Deliverer and the Author of our Faith.
He giveth grace upon grace. He loveth more than a parent. He forgiveth more than we deserve. He loves us, the unloveable, when we should, by all rights, be condemned.


Psalm 147 also tells us that the Lord "takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love" (verse 11).

Is there a song in your heart and mine today? If they looked at us through spiritual x-ray eyes, would they see Jesus in every cell in our bodies? When the angels landed on Shepherds' Field in Bethlehem they sang a song first, glorifying God, and announced He Who will save the people (us) from their (our) sins. 

The angels sang then and sing NOW, before the Throne as the Bible tells us in Revelation. What song can you and sing to the King this day, this week, this month and this year? Remember, if it is from the heart and soul, the Lord will delight in it.



Monday, January 7, 2019

THE DEBATE CONTINUES: PREDESTINATION, ELECTION....WHAT'S THE TRUTH?

A really good friend  recently asked me to explain one of the toughest and most complicated topics in Christianity - Predestination and Election. It is a topic which divides basically good Christians into two camps - Calvinists and those whom the Calvinists call "Armenians" or "Free Gracers".  In this debate on the blogsophere and Bible conferences etc. there is a tremendous lack of love and grace which has actually turned a lot of people off, not just from those debating, but from Christianity in general.

Putting all the bloviating aside, what is the Truth about Predestination, Election and God? Well, the answers are again - always to be found in the Bible. Because God is sovereign, He sees the end from the beginning. Due to the Fall of man in Genesis 3, and the entry of sin into the world, the Lord had to kill an animal to get clothing for Adam and Eve, after Adam told the Lord he could not come out and talk because of his nakedness. This was the first blood sacrifice and a fore-runner of the many sacrifices of the Law, before the ULTIMATE sacrifice – the Lord Jesus on Cross. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.

However, the blood of bulls and goats could not pay for sin (Hebrews 10:4). So God sacrificed His One of a Kind son (only begotten) in an attempt to reconcile sinful mankind until Himself. All mankind. This led to the greatest verse in the world – John 3:16 – God SO loved THE WORLD. That means – The World! Everyone. Even Gaddhafi, North Korea, Fidel Castro and any unsavoury human being who comes to mind.

So given all of this – that the Lord loves this rebellious world which blasphemes, hates and with even Christians shoving Him aside, why would He do this? Because He loves everyone….including those who hate Him and kill His people. In fact wishes in 2 Peter 3:9 that none perish and all come to repentance. That is an active present tense verb. That includes people like Manassas in the Old Testament who followed pagan gods or even Solomon, who wasted his entire life on 1000 pagan women and their gods and led his sons astray, straight into hell. Solomon repented and we have Ecclesiastes.


So we have the foundation:

  • The fractured relationship between God and mankind disrupted God’s plans
  • Sin abounded and still runs free until Jesus ends it around Revelation 20, at the end of the Tribulation
  • God loves ALL the world…and that means all.
  • Jesus willingly came off the Throne and gave His life as a “ransom for many” (Phil 2:5-11)

Now we move to the Crux of the Matter….and where it can sound confusing. Jesus said in Matthew 22:14 that “many are called, but few are chosen” (KJV).  A full reading of first part of this verse and surrounding ones, in the original language (Greek) actually lines up with John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9 when we think it out completely.
  • God wants all to repent and come to faith, even muslims, Buddhists and atheists.
  • The offer from Jesus is free and open to all the world for all time and is there out in the open for all to see.
  • We have never had more gospel preaching, bibles, Christian TV satellite networks etc. around the world than we have now. There are more preachers giving invitations to accept Christ in EVERY country, including the ones closed to Christianity. Therefore MANY are called as in – ALL who hear which is the majority of the world, have that opportunity if they open their eyes
  • Many are called to faith and repentance, only FEW CHOOSE it. This applies to the largest mega-church or the smallest bible or Baptist churches. Many will hear the invitation…..and those who are not saved or those who THINK they are saved – and few will let it slide, thinking – “naaah….i don’t need that now…or this sounds hokey….it will be alright in the end….of course I am a christian, I’m an American…..”
  • Few are chosen because so few actually choose Christ, Who knows their hearts and therefore, even fewer are born again! Barna Research and the Pew Foundation found that on the average, only 9-11% of Americans have a BIBLICAL Worldview. That means, when the numbers are drilled down, less than 35 million Americans are actually saved, born-again believers…NOT evangelicals, but born-again Kingdom minded heaven bound saints. It is going to be a sad day on Judgment day when half the church people we see are told “depart from me, I never knew you”.

So now, this brings us to Election. In light of all of the above: God wants all saved, but only a very few actually choose the correct Biblical Path, we are then called the Elect. Those whom He foreknew…..He predestined because He saw the end from the beginning and knew we would follow Christ, into Heaven….and do His Will here on earth. It is as simple as that.

All the verses you quoted basically mean this same thing.  The Modern-day Calvinists, apart from sounding harsh and unloving, are wrong and not like John Calvin at all who did not preach “Limited Atonement”, which is the “L” in the Calvinist T.U.L.I.P.  By the way, so are those on the charismatic side who preach that you can lose your salvation. How can you lose something you never had? But this is another discussion (John 6:37-39).

To wrap up this long explanation, God has Foreknowledge. Because He does, He calls us out just as He did me on Monday august 16, 1988 at 4 am Eastern time. He foreknew I was going to choose Him when I had that stark choice between heaven and hell on literally both my hands the month before – July 1988.  I was physically flat on my back sick for 2 weeks because of that lifestyle of the roaring 1980’s, had come to the end of myself and had no where to look but up.

So He called me, then I know now I was not ready, as I continued somewhat in the same lifestyle for a couple months – but, this time, it was different and I wanted out….and got out and away and was set on my journey with Jesus. I purchased my first $2 new testament in a christian bookstore. I could not put it down. 

When Jesus called me on that Fateful day of August 16, 1988 – He predestined me.....to sanctification and knowing about Him. When Pastor Griffis in a liberal church in Connecticut, after my wife and I were married 3 years, asked us if we wanted to start a bible class for 22 kids in an upperclass in money only but poor in biblical integrity church, directly across from Mark Twain’s house where he wrote Huck Finn – we said yes. We had the same 22 kids for almost 3 years and saw some much growth….we were off to the races and since then, never looked back. In retrospect, was all of this ordained? I lived through it, and can guarantee that it was.


Foreknowledge – Predestination – Sanctification….all called – ELECTION. All par for the course, with the marvelous Sovereignty of God. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

IT'S A WONDERFUL...MIRACLE! JIMMY STEWART "MEETS" BABY JESUS IN "TIME TRAVEL"!

If you were allowed to go back to any historical event in the last 5500 years, or so,  of creation, what would it be? Many would choose to watch Moses cross the Red Sea with upwards of two million Israelites. This would be guarantee epic blockbuster sight for a time traveler, the likes of which would never be seen again. The sight of waves, hundreds of feet high, just standing there in loud roar, while 2 million cross on the dry sea bed, completely and very quickly, is incredible to even imagine. Yet it happened.

Or how about the day the Sun stood still (click here) or the waters of the Jordan River at massive flood stage, rolling back for miles, so that the Jews could enter the promised land. They did so again, over dry land, as they crossed the Jordan River bed.

Most Christians, however would instinctively choose to be an observer at any event or issue concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  None of us would pass up an opportunity to be a fly on the wall of the Ministry of Jesus Christ. Who would want to miss the too-many-to-count miracles of Jesus; His Sermon on the Mount; His turning over the money-changers tables or most of all – the Resurrection? I would not, you would not.   Personally, I would love to be present at all of those, including the time, post-Resurrection in    where Jesus, in His Risen form, is on the beach grilling fish and making bread to feed a bunch of His disciples who had all deserted Him in His final hours in human form.

While all of this is not possible at all in this life, if it did happen, and you or I came face to Face with the brand newly born Jesus in the Bethlehem manger, how would we react? How would we react knowing what we know about Christ? How would we react knowing that He was not only born for such a time as this – to live and die and pay for the sins of all mankind, thereby reconciling us to God? How would we react at the Truth  that He rose from death to seal the victory over death, hell and the devil?

Well, this clip from a movie starring the late, great actor Jimmy Stewart, just draws you in as we see him react, to being the same kind of time traveler we have just been discussing. Watch this brief clip and be blessed!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

MIRACLES STILL DO HAPPEN...BECAUSE OF THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE - PART 3

The definition of a miracle is “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs, (such as) the healing miracles described in the Gospels of the New Testament (Webster’s Dictionary).  A miracle is also a surprising (or expected due to prayer/fasting) event which is NOT explicable by natural, medical, scientific or any kind of physical matter which we can see and study with our eyes, in laboratories or classrooms. In short, a miracle is from God.

Is God still in the miracle business? Yes, He is. I have seen miracles personally, in the lives of loved ones and friends and even people who do not trust in the Lord. Each time, those miracles were preceded by prayer and in many cases, fasting as well.

A close friend of our family was healed of Stage 4 colon cancer as the man of God prayed, at a prayer meeting/dinner, which I attended. A close loved one had a lump in her chest disappear because we prayed and fasted. Then a woman with serious heart condition, with back-up x-rays and tests to prove it, was released by doctors almost as immediately as they got in to determine if to put a stent in her heart and found nothing as seen in the x-rays, we know for a guaranteed fact – God is on the move, hallelujah.

Miracles are nothing new to our miracle working God, Whose timing is not just impeccable, but means something. There is another Christmas related miracle which appears immediately after the one with Simeon, who we had examined in Part 2 of this series.

Luke 2:36-38 tells us the story of the prophetess Anna. We read here:
And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

We key in like a laser beam on one phrase in this passage and note that Anna “never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers”!

Note the progression of the walk with the Lord of this righteous-living octegenarian:
- Anna never left the temple. In other words, she was constantly around God's people seeking fellowship with other believers, in the Holy Presence of the Almighty. For us, under the dispensation of Grace in the Church Age, we are to be like her in following Scripture's command in Hebrews 10:25. Here the Holy Spirit commands us to NOT forsake "our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near". Do not be like a growing number of professing Christians who say they are "spiritual" and "do not need to go to Church to believe in God"....or whatever other excuses they have. Church attendance for the Christian is not just recommended, it should be second nature.

- Anna "served night and day". This literally means worship in both praise and worship (prayer and singing) as well as being QUALIFIED to be doing this! How was she qualified? Just as you and I are approved by God when He saved us, Anna's heart was made right or she was justified by Faith, just as Abraham was. She was qualified by her Faith to be an authentic worshiper in God's House by obedience and trusting the God of Israel, even though Christ had not yet gone to the Cross to die for her sins, and those of all Old Testament saints. How about that, huh?! Amen.

- Anna fasted and prayed. A fast is not giving up social media or quitting Netflix for a week. A fast is literally, as the Bible teaches - giving up food. A fast does several things spiritually when it is done with the proper attitude. The best way for the Christian to fast is to try it for one day only, after checking with your doctor, and then, not eating anything after supper that night. Then when you wake up next morning, you will not be hungry. Then set your mind to READING a Psalm like say, Psalm 51- the Psalm of Repentance, first and then moving on to Psalm 1 and Psalm 37 to being praise of the Lord. After reading the Scriptures, adopt an attitude of prayer for as long as you wish, or as short as you are able, and then stay in that attitude of prayer all day long. Drink water or coffee and do not think about food until supper later on that same day. This is a 24 hour fast and prayer day which will benefit you so much, it will be incredible! Do this once, twice or more per month and watch not just your spiritual life grow, but your ability to pray like Anna - interceding for others, bringing requests before God and just praising Him, will grow by leaps and bounds.

This is YET another miracle of Christmas, via the example of Anna, who saw the entire incident go down between Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Simeon. God gave her this incredible one time experience, as a reward for her faithfulness and then she responded magnificently. What a Christmas gift!. 

How can we use a supernatural Christmas gift similar to Anna's? We respond like she did. Again, we read in Luke 2:38 that Anna "continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem". The Bible says that Anna went around speaking about Jesus to anyone who would listen, about His saving and chain-breaking power!! Let us therefore, go forth and do likewise, in constant praise and thanksgiving for our own Christmas gift of Salvation!