Sunday, December 23, 2012

What is the true meaning of Christmas?

Question of the week from GotQuestion.org

Question: "What is the true meaning of Christmas?"

Answer: 
The true meaning of Christmas is love. John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love.

The real Christmas story is the story of God's becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Why did God do such a thing? Because He loves us! Why was Christmas necessary? Because we needed a Savior! Why does God love us so much? Because He is love itself (1 John 4:8). Why do we celebrate Christmas each year? Out of gratitude for what God did for us, we remember His birth by giving each other gifts, worshipping Him, and being especially conscious of the poor and less fortunate.

The true meaning of Christmas is love. God loved His own and provided a way—the only Way—for us to spend eternity with Him. He gave His only Son to take our punishment for our sins. He paid the price in full, and we are free from condemnation when we accept that free gift of love. "But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Got Questions about Christmas?

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

What is the true meaning of Christmas?

How should Christians respond to the War on Christmas?

Do some Christmas traditions have pagan origins?

Should we have a Christmas tree?

Does giving gifts take away from the true meaning of Christmas?

Why is the virgin birth so important?

Was Jesus born on December 25th?

What does the Bible say about the three wise men?

What should parents tell their children about Santa Claus?

What is an advent calendar? How does an advent calendar relate to Christmas?

Should a Christian celebrate Hanukkah (Christmaskah)?

What is Epiphany / Three Kings’ Day and should Christians celebrate it?

What was the star of Bethlehem?

Does Luke's claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem at the time of Quirinius' census match the historical record?

Why did the Magi bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus?

Is it wrong to say “Xmas” instead of “Christmas”?

What year was Jesus Christ born?

Recommended Resource: The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel.


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Here's a reply via e-mail from CG:

"This is awesome! I'm printing this out to keep my special Christmas Box to read every year to share this many people who will listen!"

Jesus Was Born to Save You - Sermon #290

by Joseph Prince
You've often heard it said that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, but have you ever wondered what this really means? Jesus was the only baby born to die so that you might live—He was born to save you! Join Joseph Prince as he mines nuggets in God’s Word and shows you how every detail of Jesus’ birth points to His purpose and ability to save you. Be encouraged and strengthened to live life with confidence, peace and joy as you see why Jesus is the best when it comes to saving you from whatever you need saving from!

The Gift

by Chet

Whenever I'm driving my vehicle I'm in my secret place whereas I am alone with God and I talk to Him just like I would as if my earthly Dad were riding with me.  You see when I'm talking to God I'm actually talking to The Holy Spirit that lives in me and is always with me.  

The Holy Spirit is my best friend and He goes with me everywhere I go.  You may think I'm weird, but I talk to Him just as I would talk to my Dad in that I don't just pray to Him alone.  There are times when I pray, praise, and give thanks, but most of the time I talk to him as I would my best friend.

A week or so ago I was driving home and talking to Him about how I wanted to build a wooden bench for each of my three children so that every time they look at that bench and remember me thinking, "My Dad built that for me."  The Holy Spirit spoke in my spirit and said, "That's exactly why I created the heavens and the earth and the fullness thereof so that all my children with look at what I have done and remember me."  I remember saying, "I had never thought about how You did all this for us to enjoy, but more importantly for us to remember You, and to praise and worship You for all You have done for us."

The more I thought about this the more I realize how this world was created as a gift for us from The Father.  The gift of Jesus is the greatest gift, but He also gives us many other gifts that we take for granted.   I am ashamed to say I have not always realized that so many of the blessing I've received in life came from Him.  As I thought about how much He loves us I began to cry, not tears of sadness but tears of joy and worship because of His great love for us.

The Father has given us many gifts, but the greatest gift He ever gave us was Himself.  He sent a part of Himself, His Son, to save and redeem the world from death by taking our place and dying in our place, so that when we accept His Son as our Lord and Savior we are made in right standing (righteous) with The Father.

I pray that if you have not received God's free gift as yet then please take a few minutes to talk to Him.  You do not have to know any fancy prayers.  Just talk to Him and acknowledge that you are a sinner and worthy of hell, and that you believe that Jesus died for your sins so that you will not be doomed to hell.  Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to change your heart because you cannot change your heart.  Once you become a believer in Jesus your spirit man has been reborn, but the heart, the mind will and emotions, have to be trained and only the Holy Spirit can change you.  He changes you by the daily renewing of your mind through the study of what God has said in the scriptures.

I pray that you and your family will have a wonderful Christmas and if you don't know Jesus yet then I pray that you will accept the free gift that He gave for you.  I you have accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus today I would love to hear from you.  If you have a personal testimony that you want to share please feel free to send me an e-mail.  If you would like for me to share your story on this BLOG I would be glad to that for you.  If you want to share your story with me, but do not want it posted on the BLOG just let me know that you do not wanted posted.

Any testimonies that posted on this BLOG will not have your name mentioned, just your initials only.
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Here's an e-mail reply from subscriber CG:

"Thank you so much Chet for sharing  your beautiful gift of writing. I really needed this message.  I'm taking every word of your beautiful message to heart. God bless you!"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"What is the year 2012 Mayan prophecy?"

The following question of the week was reprinted from e-mail sent by GotQuestions.org:


Question: "What is the year 2012 Mayan prophecy?"

Answer: The ancient Mayans, in their “Long Count” calendar, had December 21, 2012, as the end of the calendar. This “end” of the Mayan calendar leads to many different interpretations. Some see it as nothing more than a reset, the beginning of a new cycle. Others see it as the date for the end of the world (or at least some type of universal catastrophe). So, what is the Mayan Long Count calendar, and does it have any relation to the end of the world?

The Mayans developed their own calendar (The Long Count) ca. 355 B.C. They were able to use their observations and mathematical prowess to calculate the future movements of stars across the sky. The result was that the Mayans discovered the effect of the earth’s wobbling as it spins on its axis. This wobbling rotation causes the stars’ movements to drift gradually in the sky (an effect called “precession”) in a 5,125-year cycle. The Mayans also discovered that once every cycle the dark band at the center of the Milky Way (called the “Galactic Equator”) intersects the Elliptical (the plane of the sun’s movement across the sky).

During the year of the intersection, the sun reaches its solstice (a brief moment when the sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer) on December 21 for the Northern Hemisphere and June 21 for the Southern Hemisphere. At that time, the solstice occurs at the same moment of the conjunction of the Galactic Equator with the Milky Way. The year this occurs (in relation to our Gregorian calendar) is A.D. 2012, and happened last on August 11, 3114 B.C. With Mayan mythology teaching that the sun is a god and the Milky Way is the gateway to life and death, the Mayans concluded that this intersection in the past must have been the moment of creation. Mayan hieroglyphs seem to indicate that they believed the next intersection (in 2012) would be some sort of end and a new beginning of a cycle.

All the so-called “Mayan prophecies of 2012” are nothing more than wildly speculative extrapolations, based on the yet-uncertain interpretations by scholars of Mayan hieroglyphs. The truth is that, apart from the astrological convergence, there is little indication that the Mayans prophesied anything specific regarding the events in their distant future. The Mayans were not prophets; they were not even able to predict their own cultural extinction. They were great mathematicians and accomplished sky watchers, but they were also a brutally violent tribal people with a primitive understanding of natural phenomena, subscribing to archaic beliefs and the barbaric practices of blood-letting and human sacrifice. They believed, for example, that the blood of human sacrifices powered the sun and gave it life.

There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that would present December 21, 2012, as the end of the world. The Bible nowhere presents the astronomical phenomena the Mayans pointed to as a sign of the end times. It would seem inconsistent of God to allow the Mayans to discover such an amazing truth while keeping the many Old Testament prophets ignorant of the timing of the events. In summary, there is absolutely no biblical evidence that the 2012 Mayan prophecy should be considered a reliable prediction of doomsday.

Also included in the ancient Mayan prediction that December 21, 2012, would be the end of the world are the following theories: our sun is a god; the sun is powered by the blood of human sacrifice; the creation moment occurred at 3114 B.C. (despite all evidence that it happened much earlier); and the visual alignment of stars has some significance for everyday human life. Like every other false religion, the Mayan religion sought to elevate the creation instead of the Creator Himself. The Bible tells us about such false worshipers: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25), and “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). To accept the Mayan 2012 prophecy is also to deny the clear biblical teaching about the end of the world. Jesus told us, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32).




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Monday, December 10, 2012

#288 - Can You Lose Your Salvation - Part 1

As a continuation of the phrase "Once Saved Always Saved" I found a podcast by Joseph Prince that helps to further explain that believers are people that are "Once Saved and Will Always Be Saved" and there also there other people that are spoken of in the Bible that are not saved, or shall I say they have never been saved.

"Is it possible for a Christian to lose his or her salvation? Those who say that it’s certainly possible point readily to the warning in Hebrews 6 as Bible proof. But what is Hebrews 6 really all about? Who are the people being warned here? Joseph Prince tackles these questions head on in this exciting message and sheds light on this controversial topic. This must-hear message will help you determine whether you live life with your eternal security hanging in the balance, or with your heart fully assured that heaven is your home.

Click here to watch the video: #288 - Can You Lose Your Salvation? Part 1

Welcome Home Series

My goal is to watch every sermon that Pastor Robert Morris has posted on his Gateway Church Sermon Center website at
http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons .  I started with the oldest series going forward using the Gateway APP on my iPad 2, starting July 1, 2006.

At present I'm up to the "Welcome Home" series dated October 20, 2007.  This is an eight week series based on Luke 15:11-32 the Prodigal Son.

This is one of the deepest teachings that you will ever hear.  One lesson in particular I want to you watch is so deep you may have to watch it more than once for it all to soak in.  Why is this lesson so important?  You may remember I touched on the phrase "Once Saved Always Saved"a few months ago.  There are some pastors that teach that a believers can lose their salvation based some scriptures that seem to infer this teaching.  The truth is this type of teaching is a manipulation form of preaching, a scare tactic, because some pastors are afraid that believers will go hog wild and sin all the want to if they knew they cannot lose their salvation.  The sad truth is that these pastors cause their sheep to live in a state of doubt and fear, which opens the door for demons to oppress the believer.  This type of pastor actually helps demons keep the believer from doing that what God has called them to do.

Now there are also people that claim to be a Christian, or at least thought they were saved, but actually weren't saved in the first place.  These are the people that go to church and do all the right things, but never allowed Jesus to make a real change in their hearts.  These are the people that are religious and may have done wonders in the church like casting out demons and prophesying in Jesus Name, but they were never saved.  These are the people that Jesus spoke of about when He said, "I never knew you."

I trust you will watch each one of the "Welcome Home" videos because Pastor Robert does a wonderful job of explaining the relationship of the true believer with Christ.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

REAL and REAL Stores

I just finished watching two series by Pastor Robert Morris that I highly recommend that you watch.  The first series is titled "REAL" and Pastor Robert's way of explaining the Bible brings the scriptures to life with an understanding that I've never had before.  To find this sermon series go to the Gateway Church website at http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons/ , click on sermons, and then scroll down until you find REAL.  The first sermon in the series is titled "Relevant Fishers" and that can be found at http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons/65417

After you complete the above series you will then want to watch the next series titled "REAL Stories" because this series is personal testimonies by Pastor Robert, Jimmy Evan, James Robinson, and Clark Whitten.  I loved each one of the testimonies, but when James Robinson told his story I could not help but cry like a baby.

I pray that you will take the time to watch these two series and also subscribe to Pastor Robert podcast on iTunes.  I would love to hear from you - please share your thoughts after watching one or more of these two series.