Special note to our Subscribers: We love and cherish each one of you and we pray you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas and New Year. The GospeLines Staff will take a break from 12/26 till 01/02 so we can recharge and be ready to serve you next year.
Hundreds of anxious volunteers reverently awaited the arrival of a huge 18-wheeler, filled with fresh Christmas wreaths adorned with bright red bows. Oblivious to the morning chill and blanket of snow, they made their way through the sacred field of bleached white headstones, carefully laying a wreath at the foot of each one.
One man’s effort and initiative has inspired so many.
In the midst of an early morning chill and snow, quietly arrives a huge 18-wheeler filled with fresh Christmas wreaths adorned by bright red bows. Hundreds anxiously await its arrival. One man’s effort and initiative has inspired so many.
Fifteen years ago, with a handful of people by comparison, Merrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, Maine, decided to decorate 5,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery - a small and meaningful gesture to those who fought and died for us. One man’s commitment to honor those who sacrificed for us is an awesome sight. Those green wreaths and red bows against the stark white marble headstones provide quite a contrast. To learn more about this project, copy this link into your browser:
I am reminded that one person can make a difference!
As we wait expectantly for the arrival of the Christ-child, God’s gift will make a tremendous difference in our lives if we only believe. He is quietly amongst us and lives in each of us.
As we approach Christmas and the New Year, instead of the usual gifts and resolutions, let us consider finding a way to make a real and tangible difference in some one else’s life.
Perhaps Gandhi said it best, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
When all the gifts have been opened and put away, When the magic of the moment is gone… Let us be reminded every day That giving of ourselves lives on… Let us create or seek those opportunities to give, So that with You in us, we may truly live!
While on a fishing trip, nine miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, I caught a promise!
Maybe I missed the part in science class about migratory birds flying over large bodies of water enroute to their winter homes. Nonetheless, I got a refresher course when a tiny brown bird with green trimmed wings and a crimson spot on top of its head, found a resting place on the fishing rod I was using.
Sitting a few inches above the reel, our eyes met momentarily, and we both wondered what we should do next. Savoring the moment, I remained very quiet and still (and missed a nibble from a real fish), while my feathered visitor rested from his long journey.
As my little friend flew away I was reminded about how much this experience was like the ministry Jesus provides the believer. He is my resting place when I am weary from life. No matter the time or place, wherever I may be, Jesus is there to provide a strong branch upon which I may rest my weary soul.
GospeLines Prayer:Precious Lord, when I am weary You are the branch which appears from nowhere. You call me to rest upon You when times are troubled and even when they are not. Thank you for the times when my journey seems unbearable, I can perch upon your promise and find rest within my soul. Amen and amen.
"Wish I had a truck," I muttered to myself while in rush hour freeway traffic. The older I become, and the more I drive on the freeways of Houston, the less happy I am with my 4-cylinder Geo Tracker. It isn't that I want to run over anyone, I just want to SEE over them and be able to KEEP UP. With those 18-wheelers towering above me on both sides, I have thoughts of being squeezed to death with nothing left but a big spot on the concrete. My worst fear comes when two NASCAR wannabes use the freeway as a racetrack, whizzing across three lanes of traffic in unison, darting in and out of cars at speeds approaching 90 mph. Watching them flirt with disaster brings visions of twisted steel and crushed bodies.
While attempting to stay on the Christian course, we may sometimes make errors of judgment which bring us face to face with dangerous situations. It could be a slightly shady business decision, or the encouragement of a flirtatious relationship that we know is not healthy for us. Maybe the temptations we face are certain social issues which are okay for the world, but unacceptable for the child of God. In school, we may be faced with cheating or drug or dating challenges. Whatever the circumstances, we should flee from evil. Do not give satan an opportunity for victory by flirting with danger.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, keep us safe whether we travel the freeways of life, or the less traveled country roads. Let purity be our constant companion and vigilance our navigator, less we become careless and succumb to the temptation that 'You can get by with it just this once.' Amen and amen.
Tonight a dear friend asked me why I believe that Jesus is the only way to God… the only way to salvation. What she actually said was, "Do you really believe that everyone who does not accept Jesus as their Savior will go to hell?"
That was not her only question. In fact, her next question was even more significant. She asked, "Why do you believe?"
I talked a lot about the Bible. I told her about the many writers, scattered over many centuries, many countries and many languages, who wrote the scriptures with no contradictions. I talked about the first chapter of Genesis and how the sequence of events concerning the creation fit perfectly with what science has discovered. I covered many reasons why the Bible should be believed. Unfortunately, I didn't give the real reason why I believe. I didn't even think of it until much later.
Why do we believe? Is it all faith… the hope that what the Bible says is really true? Do we believe because we want it to be true or is there something else? As I thought about these questions and my friend's question, I realized that I missed the most important point of all. I believe Jesus is real because I know Him!
He talks to me; He answers my prayers and, through the Holy Spirit, He has ministered to me in so many ways that He has become my constant friend and companion. I believe because I know He is real. I know He is real because He lives in me and He shows Himself to me every day in everything I do - good or bad - He is there, by my side. He comforts me when I am hurting. He picks me up when I fall; He laughs with me when life is good; He always forgives me and he loves me unconditionally. He is my Savior; but, he is also my Brother and my friend.
Christianity isn't about scientific proofs or hard data. Yes, those things exist and can be shown to the skeptic; but, real Christianity goes far beyond that. Real belief in our Savior Jesus comes from having a personal and intimate relationship with Him.
During this Christmas season, we should be celebrating the birthday of our Brother, our Friend and our Savior, Jesus, the Christ - the Messiah. If we really know Him, we will celebrate His birth, His death and His resurrection all at the same time. His life cannot be separated from ours and our personal relationship with Him makes us who we are.
The knowledge of His truth and His love is why we call ourselves Christians. His commands guide our lives - not because we fear Him, but, because we love Him and we know that He loves us.
Happy Birthday my Brother... Happy Birthday Jesus. May we never forget that Your birth is the reason we celebrate. Not just on December the 25th, but every day of our lives. Amen!
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:5
" 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register. 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David." (Luke 2:1-4)
In Nazareth of Galilee, Mary and Joseph awaited the birth of their son. For eight months they pondered the words of the angel, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means, ‘God with us’.” Matt. 1:23
Both were devout Jews, knowing well the meaning of the prophecy that the Messiah would be of the lineage of David. Who would believe them if Jesus were born in Galilee instead of Judea, the land of King David? It was approaching the ninth month of her pregnancy and Mary and Joseph became resigned that their baby would be born in Nazareth, an event that would forever place the Lordship of Jesus in question. But Jehovah had a plan.
They would never have made that trip to Bethlehem of Judea without a very compelling reason. At the last possible moment, God used the bickering of two tyrannical politicians, Augustus and Herod, to make the way clear for Joseph and Mary to embark upon their incredible journey (72 miles) from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They had no choice! Augustus, in his anger with Herod, insisted that a tax be levied against the people, thus a census must be ordered. Every person was required to return to the town from which they were reputed to belong in order to be counted in the census.
So it was that Mary, in her ninth month of pregnancy, set out with Joseph across rugged terrain toward the place where Jesus would be born. Normally, it was a four day journey, but in Mary’s condition it would have taken a week, maybe more. If they made it at all, there would at least be no question about the lineage of their son. He would be officially recognized upon the order of the Roman government that Jesus Christ was of the house of David.
But the little town of Bethlehem was not prepared for all those people who were compelled to return for the census. Mary and Joseph arrived later than other travelers and found no place to stay. They were exhausted from their journey.
Every town in that day had a caravanserai, special quarters where travelers could stay for free. It was a building with four walls and an open courtyard. Surrounding the inside courtyard were little stalls where families could find protection from the weather. It was the custom, too, that a place be provided for the guests to feed and water their animals. There it was, in the stable, that the Christ-child was born, “because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Incredible! A King is born but He has nowhere to lay His head. In meager surroundings his birthplace announces an eternal link with commonality, poverty and humility. Instead of royal robes, there were swaddling clothes. C. H. Spurgeon said, “He is to wear through life a peasant’s garb; He is to associate with fishermen; the lowly are to be His disciples; the cold mountains are often to be His only bed…”
It is with divine purpose that our first glimpse of Jesus be offered in a setting like this, where He is absolutely approachable by EVERYONE from ALL WALKS OF LIFE, be it rich or poor, politician or slave. Beloved, my King needs no crown or purple robe to announce His royalty! Whether He is born in a mansion or a manger, the angels on high pronounce His coming, not the Wall Street Journal or the Congressional Record! “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Hallelujah!
Read that verse one more time. “There was no room for THEM in the inn.”
When I think about this Bethlehem scene, I’ve grown comfortable with the idea that the world pushed Jesus aside without providing a place for Him. He can handle it, because He is GOD… and His Father will take care of Him. Oh, I may grumble a little about how they treated baby - Jesus, but in the end, it is every man for himself.
But that isn’t what the verse says. It says that everyone who was associated with Jesus in Bethlehem was pushed aside, left to their own devices, forced to go it alone, ostracized, shoved into the corner. Mary, Joseph and Jesus… they were all left out in the cold. Why is it that my relationship with Jesus costs me nothing in creature comforts? Either the world has grown soft on Christians today, or there just isn’t much difference between us and the world anymore.
Are you ready for the real message of the Christ-child this Christmas? What if it really did cost us our comforts to follow Jesus today? Suppose for a moment, that in order to truly follow Him we would be forced to give up our homes and sleep with the animals? “The cattle are lowing, the poor Baby wakes…” is OK for Jesus, but what if we REALLY had to be there by His side in that smelly barn in order to be like Him?
Take another look at Christmas this year. Jesus did not come so that we could be prosperous in the physical sense, but He came so that we could become rich in spiritual things. If we ever discover the wealth of that truth we will find out that life, whether it is taking us through the valleys of despair or pushing us over the mountaintops, is one incredible journey with Jesus.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, all I want for Christmas is… NOTHING! Because I have You in my life! Amen and amen.