Traditionally, many people in the world get inebriated, only to wake up sometime the next day not knowing what they might have said, what happened, or with whom. As a safe and sane alternative to the typical New Year’s bash, Christians can gather together with music, food, games, perhaps an inspirational message, and some powerful prayer. Then go home, go to bed, and enjoy the next day without a smashing headache or an upset stomach.
Next to Thanksgiving, Christmas is perhaps the biggest food-producing holiday in America. From candies to casseroles, and from homemade cinnamon rolls to roasted chestnuts, everyone’s palate can be tantalized by the tastes of Christmas.
After Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, He spent 40 days on earth. In all, more than 500 people became witnesses to the prophetic promise that was fulfilled. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John provide an overview of Jesus' teachings, instructions and inspiration as the resurrected Christ.
Two men hung next to Jesus on the day of his crucifixion. They were both sinners, but one had a hardened heart. The other man knew who Jesus was and took the opportunity to ask for forgiveness. He said: "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
The story of Good Friday can be studied and discussed in many ways. There's the why of it, the how of it, the people involved in it, and the repercussions of it. But the bottom line to the Good Friday story is that Jesus suffered and died so that mankind could be saved and find peace.
There was great anticipation and excitement as Jesus began to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. Many wondered what Jesus was going to do next. But not all of the people were excited about Jesus arriving in the city for the Passover. The scribes, chief priests, Pharisees and Sadducees and other religious leaders were afraid of Him, and wanted to stop His influence.
While God never intended for families to be broken, His grace can bring blended families out of the brokenness into peaceful acceptance of each other. With time, the relationships can even grow into unity and fellowship where division and anger once ran amuck.
The body of Jesus was mutilated beyond recognition. He was barely able to stand, let alone able to bear the weight of his own cross. It didn't make sense. If this was the Messiah, it was not supposed to end this way. Having no choice, Simon of Cyrene swallowed his pride, took up the cross, and followed Jesus.
While God originally instituted animal sacrifice as a way of providing ceremonial cleansing for His people, those sacrifices were not able to cleanse man's conscience from the effects of sin. Only the blood of Jesus Christ could remove the stain. The author of Hebrews taught in his letter that only by becoming a human could Jesus die, and it was only through his death that the power of Satan could be broken.
People all across America look forward to giving and receiving gifts wrapped in bright and glittery paper and ribbon. There’s something about the way the Christmas tree looks when beneath its branches lies a mound of shiny gifts of all sizes.
Following the arrest of Jesus, guilt and despair were too much for Judas to overcome. Rather than seek forgiveness or reconciliation, Judas committed suicide. His death was a tragedy; he would have had the same opportunity as Peter to turn things around, and he would have been in the Upper Room with the other disciples to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Instead, like Cain, Judas' actions forever dishonored him.
At the Last Supper, Jesus demonstrated his greatest act of servant leadership. He and his 12 disciples had just finished eating when Jesus, with only a towel wrapped around his waist, knelt down at the feet of each of them and washed their feet, drying them with the towel. This overwhelming expression of pure love made a lasting impression on the disciples, and laid a foundation for true servant leadership; one that has become the model for Christians today.
Striving for perfection isn’t the worst thing. But when making New Year's resolutions it is important to understand that it takes time to change habits and lifestyles. Often it takes extra time and effort to reach an important personal goal, but the result is well worth it. Instant success might be an unrealistic expectation, so if there is a temporary setback or postponement, try again.
Peter went from denying Christ to becoming the leader of the 12 apostles, proving the words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 16:17: "<i>And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it</i>."
Of the many people that witnessed Jesus Christ in His resurrected body, only a handful of specific people are named. Each appearance was purposeful, even though some incidents are recorded without details. For the events that are recorded, the Scriptures reveal specifics that are both intriguing and inspiring. When each Gospel narrative is read carefully, and all the details are put together, the big picture becomes quite clear.
In most versions of the gospels, women were the first know and see that Jesus had risen from the dead. In Luke, several women went to the tomb to prepare Jesus' body with spices, only to find it empty.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an extension of God's desire for Christians to work diligently together, paying close attention to maintaining spiritual unity, bound together without strife. Paul writes about the one Body of Christ, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and the one God and Father. Clearly, Godâ&#&#&#?;;;&#&#&#?;;;s Word is emphasizing unity.
Each January, Christians observe Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The teachings for this event come from the International Joint Committee of the World Council of Churches and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
The goal in offering traditional devotions through the Stations of the Cross is to help Christians make a personal spiritual pilgrimage through prayer and meditation. During this time, Christians are asked to carefully consider the main scenes of Christ's sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.
Daniel is a good example of how to approach God during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Daniel approached God with humility and worshipfulness. He wasn't praying for his personal needs, but was confessing the sins of his people and interceding and supplicating for restoration and unity for all of God's people. God can hear and answer prayers just as powerfully today as He did for His people in the Bible times.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ goes beyond a paranormal event in history. It divided those who opposed its miracle from those who desired and desperately needed the restoration, salvation and redemption it promised.
Epiphany is celebrated as the day that this star had finally led the Magi from the East to the child Jesus. But the greatest significance of the Star of Bethlehem was not its brightness, but its part in the heavenly announcement of everything that Jesus was.
The Almighty God, Who has foreknowledge and already knows every scenario, every thought, and every need, requires His people to pray to Him. He is poised to perform mighty and miraculous things. Unified Christian prayer is powerful far beyond human comprehension. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity provides opportunities for miracles within the Body of Christ.
In regard to the annunciation and birth of the Messiah, the point is usually taken to be the majesty of a God who is able both to control events before they happen, and to create life in any way He chooses. Jesus is then seen as GodÃƒÂ¢Ã‚Â€Ã‚Â™s decision to bless us in a practical manner, taking notice of human needs. This, of course, is part of what Mary affirms in Luke 1:47. A more careful look at Isaiah, however, will reveal a surprising and disturbing depth to the opening chapter of Matthew.
The Great Commission. They are the words of Jesus spoken just prior to his ascension following the 40 days he lived on earth as the resurrected Christ. It is called The Great Commission because it is a command that disciples go into the world and spread the Gospel. In fact, Matthew 18:16-20 is often used when teaching or preaching on the subject of service, missions and evangelism.
This occasion memorializes the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. All the gospel writers agree that God spoke to confirm His Son, Jesus the Christ, and this began Jesus’ public ministry.
For political and military reasons, January 1, 153 B.C. became the beginning of the new year. The Roman calendar was widely used throughout western Europe, until revised by Aloysius Lilius, an Italian doctor, astronomer, philosopher and chronologist. Pope Gregory XIII commanded Christians to use this new and improved calendar in 1582, and named it after himself. It is still the most widely used calendar in the world.
God is all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere-present. God is in business 24 hoursa day, seven days a week, always attending to His people, all around the world. If ever there was a need for daily prayer to the Almighty God, now is the time.