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Merry Christmas

On December 17, 1903 at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, Wilbur & Orville Wright became the first people to demonstrate the sustained flight of a heavier-than-air machine under complete control of a pilot.  The first flight lasted only 12 seconds and covered just 120 feet.  The longest flight of the day was airborne for 57 seconds and covered 852 feet.  Later that same day the Wright Brothers sent a telegraph to their father, Bishop Milton Wright, back home in Dayton, NC.  The telegram read, "SUCCESS!  Four flights Thursday morning all against twenty-one mile wind.  Started from level ground with engine power alone.  Average speed through the air thirty-one miles, longest 57 seconds.  Inform Press.  Home for Christmas."  History tells us that when Mr. Wright read the telegram he shouted, "The boys will be home for Christmas!"  When I read this, it humored me that Mr. Wright had seemingly missed the point!  History had been made, yet his focus was on Wilbur and Orville coming home for Christmas.

When I look around at all of the decorations, sales, stores staying open all night for hours on end it seems that we are also missing the point.  I love Christmas, but there's more to it than presents and family - although I enjoy both!  For me, Christmas is also about the love of a Father so deep that He would send His only Son to save me.  History, yet so much more than just history, was made over 2,000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem.  A baby was born to Mary and Joseph.  This baby would grow to have a powerful influence on mankind that is still celebrated all over the world on Christmas Day.  I need to pause long enough to thank my heavenly Father for this perfect gift.

Isaiah 9:6-7 "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.  The government will rest on his shoulders.  And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  His government and its peace will never end.  He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.  The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen."

Nourishment

As a child, one characteristic I shared with all children is that I wanted to grow up - to be like my parents, to be an adult.  When I was "born again", I became a spiritual newborn baby (see John 3:1-8).  Being a healthy newborn, I wanted to grow.  How sad it is for a born again Christian who never grows up.

The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, reflecting their desire for nourishment which will lead to growth.  Once I see my need for God's Word, I begin to find nourishment.  My relationship with Jesus Christ naturally develops.  My spiritual appetite increases and I begin to mature.  How strong is your appetite for God's Word?

1 Peter 2:1-3 "So get rid of all evil behavior.  Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.  Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation.  Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness."

Trials

All believers face trials when they let their light shine into darkness.  I must accept trials as part of the refining process that burns away impurities and prepares me to meet Jesus Christ.  As gold is heated, impurities float to the top and can be skimmed off.  Likewise, my trials, struggles and persecutions refine and strengthen my faith, making me more useful to God.  Instead of asking, "Why me?" I should respond to suffering with a fresh perspective.

First, confidence that God knows, plans and directs my life for the good.  It's hard for me to grasp sometimes, but God always provides His love and strength for me.  God leads me toward a better future.  Second, perseverance when I'm facing grief, anger, sorrow or pain.  I express my feelings, but I don't give in to bitterness or despair.  Finally, courage because with Jesus as my Brother and Savior I need not be afraid.  He who suffered for me will not abandon me!  Jesus will carry me through everything.

1 Peter 1:6-7 "So be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.  These trials will show that your faith is genuine.  It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.  So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."

Attitude

A bad attitude is like a flat tire - you can't go anywhere until you change it!

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8

Smile

Try something different today. Smile at people you encounter. A simple smile can turn someone's bad day into a fresh outlook. Plus, a smile releases chemicals in our brains that make us feel better, even if the smile is forced. A smile will often spark a casual conversation, opening up opportunities to make a friend, even if you never see them again!

Proverbs 15:13 "A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit."

© HangNailed 2017