Deuteronomy 12:29,30 – “When the Lord your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land, do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’
In 1908, Israel Zangwill, a British Jew, published The Melting Pot, a play about America that portrayed it as, well, a huge melting pot. He observed that people from all over the world go to America, rub shoulders with each other, and mix until their individual ways of life disappear. What ends up inside the vat bears no resemblance to what went in. It’s a whole new concoction—like a cake mix.
People try to do that with religion, too, melting and stirring until the result is a personal belief system that looks nothing like any of the original ingredients – they become experts on cooking up new religions in the name of tolerance.
Israel was supposed to be intolerant of any religion that did not worship the true God. The religions of surrounding nations were evil and corrupt. They were designed to destroy life, not uphold it. Israel was God’s special nation, chosen to be an example of what was right.
As Christians, we need to be completely intolerant of any sin-especially false religion. We should always be tolerant of people who hold differing views, but we should never tolerate or follow any belief or practice that is contrary to God’s Word. It will lead us away from God and his standards for living.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
As each of us travel along the paths of our lives we are confronted with the many seasons spoken of in the book of Ecclesiastes. Joy, pain, loss, gain…no mater what time or season you may find yourself in or experiencing right now one thing is certain; God, the Father is still on His throne!
At some of the lowest points in our lives, when we have experienced pain, sickness, suffering or the loss of a loved one, I always hear the question asked: “Why is God allowing this to happen?”
I too have asked that question at times. The truthful answer is that many times only God knows why. It may sometimes seem unfair to be kept in the dark about the events that take place throughout our lives, or to not have the answers to certain questions. But that is where we must exercise our faith and trust in Almighty God, believing in our hearts that He indeed loves us as His children and that it is all a part of His design. We must remain confident and believe that He is firmly in control of not only the many seasons of our lives, but of all things.
Isn’t Christmas time a most splendid time of year? I know that it is my favorite season.
Christmas is a time when the often blazing heat of the summer is nothing more than a mere memory and the crisp air smells fresh and clean. It’s a time when people begin to feel a little better inside somehow, about themselves and others. They begin to think of things like giving and celebrations, of festive decorations and beautiful lights glowing along their streets. It’s a time when almost everyone is more thankful and thoughtful, showing kindness and compassion for others. Of course; for many people, myself included, receiving gifts is another favorite part of the Christmas season.
I like to receive presents as much as anyone, though the type of the gift isn’t the most important thing for me. I’m sure their are plenty of people who would agree that it is truly the thought that counts. The mere fact that someone cared enough about me as to demonstrate that feeling by way of an act speaks volumes. Even a simple card has great meaning to me. As Christmas nears, I feel more and more like I did when I was young. The anticipation stirs my feelings of wonder and amazement as I see yet another house on our street switch on the beautifully lighted displays, or I hear a favorite Christmas song played on the radio. With each new day, I get that feeling that something great is about to take place, and I want to make sure I’m a part of it!
Imagine the anticipation that Joseph and Mary must have felt so long ago. Knowing that she would soon be giving birth to the child she was carrying in her womb, and that His name, according to the angel Gabriel, would be Jesus (Luke 1:31). That her child would be the Messiah, prophesied by Isaiah (Is. 7:14) and promised by God, and He would save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). As tired and weary as both she and Joseph must have been after their long travels and hardships, when Mary finally gave birth and they both looked upon the face of baby Jesus; the holy face of the Son of God, the thoughts and feelings they had must have been indescribable!
Every year at Christmas, I can’t help thinking about the thought that must have gone into God’s glorious gift to the world. For one thing, Christmas would not even exist if Jesus had never been born. But, more than that, I can’t help thinking about how He knew, even before the heavens or the earth were established, that He would send His only begotten Son as a gift of salvation to the world (John 3:16-17). God knew what had to be done, what Jesus would have to endure, but He loved us enough to do it anyway. It is because of the birth of Jesus Christ that we are able to celebrate Christmas, and because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can all receive the free gift of eternal salvation that God gave so long ago.
If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; if you have not yet accepted the free gift of forgiveness and salvation which only comes through Christ our Lord, there is no better time than right now. Please don’t let another moment pass by without the assurance of knowing you have received God’s glorious gift. By believing in your heart that God raised His Son from the dead, and repeating the simple prayer below with sincerity, you can ask Jesus Christ to forgive you and come into your heart (Rom. 10:9). Jesus can give you the gift that you were meant to receive, but only if you are willing to ask for it.
No greater gift has the world ever been given than that which was given by God!
Dear Jesus. I realize that I am lost and a sinner. I also realize that I have not yet received the gift of forgiveness and eternal salvation that you have freely offered me. Dear Lord, I am asking that you please forgive me of my sins and come into my heart. I want you to be my Lord and Savior, to rule and reign in my heart and in my life. Please help me to abide in your will and direct my paths. I thank you Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through JESUS CHRIST our LORD.