Packed Up And Moving Forward

Shelves of boxes

Christmas is over, the new year is here. Most people have probably already packed up the Christmas ornaments and decorations, taken down their tree and are ready to move forward with the new year.

All those Christmas decorations and ornaments are packed up for another year. They will not be taken out until November or December of this year. They are hidden away in a attic, closet, shed or garage to not be seen until Christmas season arrives again.

During the Christmas season, everyone is quick to talk about the birth of Jesus, about giving and loving others. The focus for many, at least for believers, is why Jesus came to this earth. Churches are often packed out for the Christmas service. People go to Christmas concerts and performances. Radios play songs about the birth of Jesus.

Manger scene

Yet, as soon as Christmas is over and the new year has begun people move on. Very quickly the heart of Christmas is missing. Generosity is forgotten. Joy is gone. Jesus is often put back in a box, packed away until the right season comes along.

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:17-18

Looking back at the time of when Jesus was born, the shepherds were the first ones to learn about His birth. Immediately upon meeting Jesus, they went out and told everyone about what they had seen and learned. They did not pack up Jesus for the next season, but did it immediately.

While the bible does not say anything more about those shepherds, I often wonder if any of those shepherds later followed Jesus. How long did they keep talking about what they had seen?

Shepherd with sheep

I believe that they did not stop any time soon. This was a major event in their life. Think about it, how often do you suddenly see the sky filled with angels to bring you a message from God and you are able to verify the message is true? I have never had that experience.

There are experiences that I have had in my life that occurred 30+ years ago that I still talk about to this day. They had a major impact in my life. I want to continue to remember those experiences and share them with other people.

Drop in water

Trusting that you are a believer, Jesus has impacted your life. There was a point in your life where you chose to believe in Him and it changed your life. Do not stop at that point, keep allowing Jesus to impact your life and share that impact with others.

While Christmas is the season in which we focus on His birth, it does not need to stop there. Many believers are quick to talk about Jesus during the Christmas season, but quickly forget talking about Him after the season. Carry Jesus with you every where you go. Pack up the Christmas ornaments and decorations, but do not pack Jesus up until the next Christmas season or even until the next Sunday morning.

Child walking forward

Move forward in what God has for you, sharing what Jesus has done in you, for you and with you. Be willing to tell the world the good news. The good news of His birth gets better after His death and resurrection. You have great news to share, so go out and share it.

As this new year has begun, find out how you can draw closer to God. Find out how you share Jesus with more people. Do not hide Jesus away so that they world cannot know Him, but allow Him to shine in this dark world through you.

As you move forward in this new year, move forward in His joy, His love, His peace, His comfort, His strength, His life, His ways, His mercy, His grace, His patience, and His salvation given to you.

Jeremiah 23:1 Woe To The Bad Shepherds

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:1

God was preparing to destroy Judah because of the sins of the people. He gave many warnings that it would happen. Even though this was God’s plan, there were many of the leaders of the temple that were trying to say something different. They had their own priests and prophets saying that God would bring about peace. They were also leading the people into the sin of following false gods. The people were being destroyed and scattered because of the way they were being led.

God gives them a warning that He would punish them for doing this. As He would destroy them, He would also bring out a remnant of the people, who they were leading wrong, to restore and build up again.

Shepherds are the ones who are supposed to lead the sheep to the best food and water. They are to protect them from the enemy. If the slack off on any of their duties, the sheep will scatter and be destroyed.

Ministers, preachers, and evangelists are always considered the shepherds or leaders of the people in the church. Although this is true, that does not mean that other people are not shepherds also. Many people, who are not preachers, also are leaders of other people. They are the ones who lead and guide some people in the walk in this life. Many are parents, while others are teachers, or mentors, or bosses of others.

People today are teaching or leading others down paths of sin that are against God. False teachings are being taught in the churches, as though it is God’s word. Prophecies are being made that God will overlook sinful acts, because of His great love. Prayers for God’s peace are being made, without a call to repentance from sin. Adultery, drunkenness, lying, cheating, gossiping, stealing, jealousy, hatred, oppression, racism, and many other sins are accepted in the church as acceptable. These are just a few ways of destroying and scattering God’s sheep. God will hold them accountable.

As a believer, you must correctly speak God’s word. Speak the truth in love at all times. Do not allow yourself to be guilty of destroying His sheep, because you spoke of God’s word in a false way. Seek God’s direction in His word as you live it and lead others with it.

I pray today that you will know God’s word in truth; that you will speak God’s word in truth; that you will not be guilty of leading others wrong; and that God will strengthen you to live in righteousness for Him.

Don’t Be Afraid: Good News

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

While some shepherds were out tending their sheep, suddenly an angel appeared in the sky, causing the shepherds to be afraid. He told them to not be afraid because he was there to bring some great news. This news was that a savior had been born.

At the time of this event, Israel had already been destroyed as a nation for several hundred years, and the Romans were in control. The Romans were very harsh in that if they did not serve Rome correctly, they would be killed or put in prison. The people had to pay a very high tax to support the Roman government. There appeared to be no hope for them at all.

Today, nearly 2,000 years later, many people live as if there is no real hope. Everything seems to be falling apart and chaos seems to reign. Bills are due, vehicles break down, families fight, there are wars and violence everywhere, crime seems to be winning, corrupt lifestyles appear to be gaining power, and no one appears to be in control.

In spite of all that is going on in this world or in your personal life, there is still good news. Jesus said that you are not to let your heart be troubled and to just trust in Him, because He will give you His peace.

Jesus was the Savior who was born that day in Bethlehem. He was the One who the angels said was good news. He is still the good news for you today.

Just as Jesus was the Savior for the shepherds and Israel, He can be your Savior today. Even though everything may look hopeless in this world, Jesus brings a hope for a future, an eternity in heaven filled with abundant life.

Accept what Jesus is willing to give you today. Trust that He is the One who will save you. Rejoice that God is still bringing good news to everyone as you celebrate Christmas today!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

I pray that today you will know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior; that you will know the peace God is providing you; that you will not be afraid of this world; and that you will tell others about Jesus.