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Luke 18:1-8

Since the holidays are upon us, by now you’ve probably seen at least one costumed Santa.  My family saw one on a chair receiving little kids for photo ops.  Except for a crying little boy that seemed to be scared of Santa, other kids probably told Santa what toys they wanted for Christmas.  I heard another Santa in a store ask a cashier what she wanted for Christmas.  She asked for a day off, something that the costumed Santa didn’t pretend to give.

How would you have answered that Santa?  Maybe you want a day off.  Well, because of Christmas, the Christian celebration of Jesus coming into the world as a baby, most Americans have Christmas off.  And if you’re a student, you might have quite a few days off.  Or maybe you desire healing, something you wouldn’t try to ask Santa for.

You can ask God for healing.  He is able to provide healing.  If you’ve been asking Him for healing, keep praying and asking Him like the persistent widow in Jesus’ parable.  She kept asking a judge for justice.  He eventually granted her justice.  If you keep asking God for healing, He can grant you the gift of healing.

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Luke 2:1-20, 12:6-7, Matthew 10:29-31

Do you have your Christmas decorations up?  Last weekend, by our bay window, I was fussing with an artificial Christmas tree with a nativity ornament among other ornaments and lights when I got that feeling I was being watched.  When I looked out the window, I discovered some sparrows had been watching what I was doing from an outside bush and near the ground.  Since I had been maneuvering the nativity ornament to my liking, it made me wonder if a sparrow or sparrows could have watched Jesus as a baby in the manger.

Jesus talked about the worth of sparrows.  Maybe sparrows were near the manger foreshadowing what He would say as an adult.

Luke 16:1-15

Are you in debt?  Many people are.  Some need to pay for a house, car, college and/or something else.  When you make a payment, you might pay with a check.

In Luke, Jesus told a parable about a manager.  In the parable, someone owed a lot of olive oil (3,000 liters!) and someone else owed a large amount of wheat (30 tons!).  If you need to pay a debt, be glad it doesn’t have to be paid with a mega quantity of olive oil or wheat.

John 14:2-3, Isaiah 11:6-7, Revelation 21, 22, 4:3-5

My family has a habit of reading the devotional, Our Daily Bread each day.  Recently, one writer wrote about someone who assumed Heaven is boring.  The writer quickly mentioned that when they went to the Grand Canyon, they were in awe at one part of God’s creation.  The author concluded that Heaven would not be boring.  I would like to add reasons I think Heaven will not be boring:

  1. Jesus will be there!
  2. Wolves, lions and bears can reside there (like a beautiful zoo with no cages).
  3. The sun is not needed because God Himself provides all of the light with no night.
  4. The River of Life is in front of God’s throne.
  5. Lightning and thunder come from God’s throne.
  6. There is a rainbow encircling His throne (no more waiting for the weather conditions to be just right for a rainbow).
  7. The main street is made out of GOLD.  God doesn’t have to mine for gold, since He can just make it.
  8. New Jerusalem’s walls will be decorated with jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, amethyst (my favorite), etc.  Is that enough precious stones for you?
  9. There are lots of mansions in Heaven.
  10. Jesus said He’d “prepare a place for you” which implies individual things might be included, like your favorite wild animals.

Will Heaven be boring?  Maybe one day’s highlights would be strolling down the golden street, hugging a lion, and doing a backstroke in the River of Life while watching lightning shoot out from God’s throne.  That sounds exciting to me!  Why would God make Himself a boring place to live?  That’s an insult to Him.  God is GOD and everything will be perfect.  Trust Him to provide eternal entertainment.

John 1:1-5, John 8:12, 1 Timothy 6:14-16

Recently, I went out at night to shop.  Driving home, I saw a motorcycle with purple and blue LED accent lights above the kickstand.  I stared as long as I could, lifted by the shining light display in the dark.

Jesus’ light breaks through darkness on a much larger scale than the motorcycle.  Jesus is “the light of the world” and God is “in unapproachable light.”  It must make them laugh to see that I’m wowed by little LED lights knowing the light I’ll encounter in Heaven someday.

Luke 12:22, John 1:1, John 14:27

My family receives e-mail from Web MD and one was entitled, “Nine Ways Worrying Can Wreck Your Health.”  The subsequent slideshow revealed that worrying can “speed up heart rate” and “raise your blood sugar.”  Also, “Your body may not fight germs as well.”

Jesus doesn’t need to subscribe to Web MD health tips.  Jesus was with God in the beginning and knows what we need and don’t need.    While on earth, so long ago, He instructed others not to worry.  At one point, Jesus specifically mentioned the heart.  He didn’t want our hearts to be troubled.  If you look up troubled on thesaurus.com, a synonym is “worried stiff.”  Jesus doesn’t want us to be worried stiff.

Jesus said He can give peace.  Whenever we’re tempted to worry, let’s remember to trust Jesus for the peace only He can give.

John 14:27

While on a walk at a nearby park on Friday, I heard an elderly man from a bench call out to me, “Where’s the flowers?”  I approached him and let him know that if he veered right on the path, went over the bridge and straight over, he would find the flowers.  From his view, instead of flowers, he could see a lot of tall weeds and an area under construction.

Let’s say the weeds and construction represent stress and flowers represent peace.  If you’re at a point in your life where you’re surrounded by weeds and construction, go to God in prayer, and ask Him to show you where the flowers are.  Giving peace is Jesus’ specialty.

 

Luke 12:1, Romans 10:9, John 14: 2-3, 15

When I was a kid, my parents took my sister and my grandma to the Grand Ole Opry to see Loretta Lynn.  Mom said that the crowd was calm getting tickets, but since there was no reserved seating, when only one or two gates of all of the gates, opened, the crowd changed to a swarm, pushing to get through.  We had no choice but to submit to the momentum of the crowd.  Mom and Dad held on firmly to us and we reached seats in safety.

In Luke, there was a crowd of thousands upon thousands trying to experience Jesus.  In their struggle to get to Him, they began “trampling on one another.”  Jesus was and is famous.  If you want to see Him someday and you’re not saved, you can ask Him to forgive your sins, believe He rose from the dead, proclaim that He is Lord, and follow His commands.  Then, He will make arrangements for your reserved place in Heaven.  He already knows your name.  Place your reservations today!

Psalm 119:48, John 14:15

Not long ago, I was flipping through a wildlife magazine for kids.  A small picture of an elephant caught my eye.  It was standing, in what looked like an unbalanced stance, with its tail swished to the side and its trunk reaching straight up into a tree’s leaves.  The elephant looked willing to fall in its attempt to reach those leaves.

It’s good to reach for Jesus’ commands with the determination of that elephant.  And if we obey Jesus’ commands, we show we love Him.

Matthew 10:33

In the past two weeks, I saw three men wearing Christian clothes.  The first man shook hands with a cop at a community event while wearing a shirt that said, “Jesus Freak.”  The second man chatted with others at a festival while wearing a shirt with Reese’s colors and design that said “Jesus.”  The third man put groceries on a conveyor belt at a natural food store while wearing a shirt that said, “Messiah.”

Jesus said that if someone disowns Him, He will disown them before God.  The word “will” is a promise.  Jesus takes promises seriously.

The men that wore Christian clothes publicly showed their love for Jesus by acknowledging Him.  I don’t know about you, but shopping for Christian clothes is sounding pretty good to me right now.