Friday, December 25, 2009

The Gift of Faith

The Real Gift of Christmas
"Every Englishman will do his Duty"

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch that beareth not fruit He taketh away, every branch that beareth fruit He prunes. Now you are purified through the Word. I am the vine and you are the branches. He that knows Me brings forth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. If you don't know Me you are cast into the fire and burned like dead dry prunings. John 15 : 1 - 6.

Naturally when I think of Christmas I think of the cross. This was the real gift of Christmas. What does that really mean for us though. We will spend eternity learning its significance. What more could God have done? Without the cross, or more specifically, without Christ on the cross, Christmas would be meaningless and futile. Along that same line, the first coming would be meaningless and futile without the second, which consummates our relationship, with the resurrection and eternal life. Seeing Him face to face!
I'm sure you've heard, each of us have a cross to bear. The important thing is to know that this is a wonderful gift. Jesus came in the middle of all the muck and mire of this earth to show us our duty. Yes this is the gift he gave. Without it we just wallow in one mess after another wondering why we have to. He is the vine, we are the branches. The pruning might seem painful, especially if we have the wrong perspective, but it is so vital.
In the tree business we have thousands of customers that pay good money to keep their trees neat and clean and strong. At the same time there always seems to be a majority that are neglected. Then Mother Nature comes along and makes up the difference. These are our customers too. It's always interesting to see different peoples response to the storm damage. The problem is, without the periodic pruning, they risk losing the whole tree or a major limb. Proper tree care and maintenance is what we call stewardship.
We are surrounded by storms and disaster and evil. It is the knowledge of God's Word the preserves us and protects us. We might still get swept away with the storm, but we are still prepared. No matter what happens we know where we are going and what road we are on. If we don't practice good stewardship we don't know Him. If we neglect the pruning in our lives we face the eternal fire ( God is the eternal fire.) and eternal DEATH.
I've said before, "True success is exactly proportionate to how well we know Him." How do we know that we know Him? It's as simple as 1 2 3. I John 2 : 3 "Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His Commandments."
What would you think if I said, "True success is exactly proportionate to how well we keep ourselves from idols as stated in I John 5 : 21." Isn't this our duty? This is talking about the first four Commandments. Idolatry is so much more dangerous today. Now we have all these fantastic images that we can't live without. They talk to us, sing to us, dance for us, and they carry us around so much better than a horse or our own two feet, ( so we think ). It's amazing to me, NO ONE even thinks of it as a violation of the second commandment, not to make anything in the likeness of anything God has made. Why do people think that all of their redundant bottled and canned noise and filth is so much better than the bird's singing, or a real person playing and singing, or the babbling brook, or the wind in the trees, or the feel of a horse under you?

What would you think if I said, "True success is exactly proportionate to how well you honor your parents?" If they are true to their calling for better or worse for richer or poorer, isn't it your duty to follow and support them? If the mother and the children depend and rely on the father shouldn't he direct in their lives, and in family government?
Of course this brings us to the 7th Commandment. This is where true success is usually lost before it is found. If the husband and wife are not on the same page, "minding the same thing, walking by the same rule." Philippians 3 : 16, submitting to the higher power, and living by faith, what a disaster.
This is just common sense. Why do you think the British were so successful? Everyone did their part. A chain isn't any stronger than the weakest link. Anything else is foolishness. "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. Don't you see? This is the same as saying there is no law or no authority. That sounds to me like the world today.

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