Thursday, December 22, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas

Did you know that the Christmas song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, is more than a fun song? It was written during Christian persecution in England and has hidden meanings. Check this out:

My true love is our Lord God.
  1. A partridge in a pair tree is Christ on the cross.
  2. Two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.
  3. Three French hens are three gifts of the Spirit--faith, hope and love.
  4. Four calling birds are the four gospels--Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  5. Five golden rings are the first five books in the Bible--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
  6. Six geese a laying are the six days of creation.
  7. Seven swans a swimming are the gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, helping, leadership, mercy.
  8. Eight maids a milking are the eight beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-10.
  9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine parts of the fruit of the spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
  10. Ten lords a leaping are the Ten Commandments.
  11. Eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful disciples--Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, and Simon (Matthew 10:2-4).
  12. Twelves drummers drumming are the twelves beliefs of the Apostles Creed.
The song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, reminded Christians of their basic beliefs in the Bible and the foundation of the church.

How many of the twelve can you put to memory? How many point to God and the Bible? How many point to Jesus and His teaching?

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that even in our darkest hours you are real. Thank you for showing us how persecuted Christians in the past kept their faith alive. Help us to focus on you and keep our faith alive and active too. Amen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jesus--God's Gift of Love

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end." Isaiah 9:6-7

Did you know that these two verses, often quoted at Christmas, were written by Isaiah more than seven hundred years before Christ was born? Isaiah worked during troubling times when people had no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of His hands. God spoke through Isaiah to warn the people they would be exiled because of their life choices, but that He would bring hope and peace through one Man.

While we celebrate the first coming of Jesus at Christmas, we prepare for His second coming. That means we respond to God's amazing love by loving Him and others. Loving God means doing what is right and good. Sometimes that means standing alone. Have you ever had to do that? I have and I feel like the lone ranger Christian. Be encouraged! God says in Isaiah 7:9, "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." Hard words, but words that hold great hope and eternal life with God. How will you show God's love this week? Will it mean that you will stand alone to do what God wants you to?

Father God, thank you for your incredible plan for us. Strengthen us to stand firmly in our faith and to reach out to others with your love, especially during this season when many people feel left out and lonely. Amen.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Honor Your Father and Your Mother

A man had two sons. He told one, "Go work in the field today," and the son replied, "I don't want to." Then the father told the other son, "Go work in the field today," and that son said, "Okay, Dad." The first son had a change of heart and went to work, but the second son got busy doing something else. Which one do you think honored his dad's wishes? Yes, of course, the first son. This little story is based on a parable Jesus told in Matthew 21:28.

Do you do what your parents ask before you do what you want? The fifth command of God's Big Ten is "Honor your father and your mother." It's often called the bridge commandment because the first four are about our relationship with God and the last five are about our relationships with others. Besides our relationship with God, the ones we have with our parents are the most important.

Lord Jesus, give us the desire to honor our parents because it's not always something we want to do. We need your help. Amen.