Every Day Is Christmas :: By Holly Spate

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

As another holiday season begins, give yourself permission to simply stop, slow down, and pause. Be intentionally mindful of the reason this beautiful season is celebrated. Reflect and remember all you have because of all you were given that one blessed night. Stop and focus on the One who gave His all so that you could have all.

For now, set aside the Christmas lists, presents, party planning and programs and simply take time to let your heart and mind focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Focus on the miracle…the blessed hope…the babe in a manger… the Savior of the world!

Now, let yourself imagine what that night must have been like over 2,000 years ago.

Can you hear the rustling of the hay and the sounds of the animals? Can you smell the night air? Can you picture Mary and Joseph settling into the humble stable nestled in the busy little town of Bethlehem, tired from a long, dusty journey? Can you imagine the anticipation on their faces while joyfully awaiting the arrival of their precious son…a child they’ve waited to meet face-to-face and hold in their arms since they received the wonderful news of His coming?

And as you look above, a star shining so amazingly bright, it lights up the whole night sky. On the distant hillside you notice figures…shepherds pacing to and fro, attending to their flocks. Then, suddenly, it happens. The gentle cry of a baby boy emerges…the birth of not just any son, but God’s only Son.

Within moments, the heavens open around you to an awe-inspiring majestic, joyous praise. Like nothing your eyes have beheld before, you see beautiful and bright angels announcing the news in unison saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” The greatest gift has arrived! The greatest gift the world has ever or will ever receive has come… Jesus, the Savior of the world!

Can you envision it all?

How amazing! How breathtaking! Redemption for all has come to the world!

Now, stop and turn your attention to another miraculous moment unfolding at the same time. Can you imagine what God himself must have felt? Everything about that night…every detail…every plan was orchestrated by Him. The pleasure He must have had watching it all unfold. His love letter to the world, wrapped in unconditional love and placed in a humble manger.

He did it for YOU.

He did it for all of us.

His unconditional love, a love without limits or boundaries provided a bridge…a bridge back to Him. His remarkable gift brought gifts of hope, grace, mercy, peace, joy and salvation, giving all a chance for relationship, redemption, and a heavenly eternity forever with Him.

A plan set in motion from the beginning. A plan to save us from ourselves and reconcile us to Himself. And as God watched, He knew what lay ahead…what had to be done…what His Son would endure on the cross. He knew what this sacrificial gift would bring and at what cost.

That night… those moments… that event… were all expressions of Almighty God’s love on full display. It’s what Christmas is all about.

As you prepare this Christmas, let your focus be to focus on the true meaning of the season as you realize all you have because of all He gave.

And never forget…

For a Christian, every day is Christmas because of the greatest gift given one night over 2,000 years ago.

hspate@verizon.net

Chick-fil-A Chickens Out! :: By Holly Spate

“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning” (2 Peter 2:20).

I’m heartbroken today. Every believer should be heartbroken. Chick-fil-A has catered, compromised and cowered to those who oppose what they’ve unashamedly stood for in the past. If you haven’t heard the news, Chick-fil-A’s foundation will not be giving to organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as they have in the past, reportedly because these groups do not recognize gay “marriage.”

Make no mistake, Chick-fil-A… your decision to cater on this important issue will not appease these LGBTQ groups and those who support them in the least. With this decision, you’ve just given them a boost of empowerment and energized their base even more. But, don’t be naive… they will not be happy. They will continue to hound and harass you until you cater to their every demand, which if you do, will render your company unrecognizable!

Why, if you’re a Christian company, would you listen to and appease man while not obeying your Creator’s commands and fear the judgment of Almighty God? Why would you make a decision that goes against what the Bible says? Why would you turn your back on the very One who has blessed you in the past?

Chick-Fil-A, remember… you have been blessed because of your past stances. You have been blessed because you’ve kept your doors closed on Sundays. You have been blessed because you’ve stood for faith and family.

We’re told very clearly in John 16:33 that we will have troubles in this life:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

But Christ has set us free… “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

As Christians, we have a responsibility to stand up and to speak the truth in love. We’re called to point the lost in the right direction. Catering to them does not help. Actually, catering and cowering to them is unkind. We’re called to share the truth with them, pray for them and help them. And we’re to do it all with Christlike love and kindness. As believers, we’re to love the sinner but hate and stand against the sin.

Matthew 5:43-45 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.’”

Nowhere in the Bible does God ever say we’re to condone a person’s sin. We’re not to make excuses, elevate, give into, support, or cheer on the sin. No, we’re to pray for the person and, with God’s help, show him/her right from wrong. And, in doing so, we’re showing real love.

Romans 12:2 reminds every believer of our place: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We’re called to unashamedly stand for what’s right even if we’re standing alone. And, we’re not just to stand, we’re to stand boldly and confidently because we represent Jesus Christ. But, as Christians, we should all come together and stand against ungodly agendas and decisions that negatively shape society and eliminate all that’s good, moral and holy.

We’re to take up our armor as Ephesians 6:13-17 says: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

We’re also to remember this important truth found in Romans 8:31: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

In other words, we’re to remember Who is on our side and to gain confidence and grow a backbone. We’re not to be anything like the world. Instead, we’re to be the light on a hill that can’t be hidden. We’re to stand strong, cling to Jesus and put on our armor. We’re not to hide in the shadows and scatter when confrontation comes our way. We’re not to bend, cave, or straddle in the grey areas.

Christians everywhere need to unite, take a stand and remain standing.

Stand up! Stand up in your communities, your churches, the public square. Come together and stand for Christ. We can make an impact and we’re commanded to put on our full armor and go share God’s truth in love to a lost world.

If we truly love the Lord and follow Christ, we have to do what He says, period.

As a follower of Christ, there’s simply no room for compromise. We have to be totally sold out to Him. Luke 9:23 is clear, “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’”

The world is getting darker each day, and we’re not to let our lights grow dim or burn out, but rather we’re to shine brightly.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s unite together and ask Chick-fil-A to stand for God in all their business practices and endeavors and to change this decision by adding our names to the following petition and sharing it with others.

https://lifepetitions.com/petition/petition-tell-chick-fil-a-to-reverse-course-don-t-cave-into-anti-christian-lgbt-agenda

hspate@verizon.net