Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CHRISTMAS - The Cost: To Those Who Accept = Free does not mean no strings!

In the summer of 1962 I was 6 years old. That's when my father cut my hair into a Mohawk, painted a yellow sun on my chest and called me – “Little Rising Sun”. This began my love affair with Cowboys and Indians. When Christmas came I asked everyone, including Santa for a horse.  Christmas Eve I had one of the most realistic dreams I had ever had; in it I owned a horse.  In the morning, I went downstairs and asked my parents where my horse was? They had to help me understand that it was just a dream, man was I mad! My dad and I talked and he explained what it would take for me to own a horse. The grooming, the feeding and what I would have to do in a stable with a shovel! 
My response to my father was that my horse did not need or do those kinds of things! You see, at 6 I did not understand what the cost would be to have the privilege of owning horse.

What does it cost to accept Christmas?  The opportunity of blessings and the privilege of relationship with Christ, which Christmas offers is tremendous, yet still comes with a cost to those that accept it. Salvation is free for us, however, Salvation does include conditions!

Some things are universal, like eating Oreo cookies -  everyone eats the middle first!  Or why a $3 hot dog at a baseball game taste better than  the  $.25 one at home!  Or when you go to the bank, there is always a long line, and only one teller is working…even if you were to go at midnight on a Tuesday!

Another universal truth, no one likes anyone telling them what to do! However, one of the costs for accepting Christmas is exactly that!

·      (1) Authority

When you accept Christmas you admit there is a God. When you admit there is a God you submit to the fact that there is someone above you.

It has been said:

"For God to be God, He must be greater than the one who recognizes Him to be God"

Job 38:1–11 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.  “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!’

Sadly, many hold a view that I heard on a well-known TV show years ago:

"We have one God and He serves us well enough"

Many think God is there for them, not that they are here for Him! The world has it backwards – they say possess Money and use God! The truth is we need to let God possess us and use Money! God has included an instruction manual on His authority.

                §  New Authority = the Word of God!

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

·      (2) Your Identity

When you accept Christmas then you believe in a personal God! Which means that God gets involved with you!

Hebrews 10:14–16 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,  “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

1 Corinthians 6:14–16 And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead.  Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.”

A very important question to ask ourselves is: How am I different because of Christ? The answer should not be money or things – it should be Character.

George Muller was a drunkard and lived a very ungodly lifestyle, even while studying theology. When he made a personal commitment to Christ his life changed drastically. He began the Scriptural Knowledge Institute , setting up many Orphanages.  8000 children were educated and found jobs…he never took a salary, yet raised over 1,453,153 pounds! When he died he had 160 pounds to his name…his Orphanages are still going!

What possesses a man to change that much…not Santa Claus!

·      (3) Goals

When you accept Christmas you admit there is more than this life: your Destiny is changed; your future is changed and your goals are changed!

Luke 12:16–21 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

You now belong to God. This brings an eternal perspective…His goals become your goals, but what does that mean? 

§  1. You won't live as others do.
§  2. Your gains will not be what the world calls gains.
§  3. Your race will be a spiritual one between you and yourself - Not competition with the other guy.
§  4. Your life will be measured by what you gave for Him not by the things you've gained for yourself.

Have you counted the cost ? Are you willing to pay it?