Closer Walk

Daily Walking Close To Thee
Julia Bettencourt


“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits,
even the God of our salvation. Selah.”   Psalm 68:19

It’s the start of a New Year so we all begin thinking towards those resolutions. Actually I am not a big fan of them. I think that we generally don’t follow them anyway. When we really resolve to do something to change our lives, it is usually at a time in our life when we are to the point that we see the need for change. Of course if a resolution works for you, then great!

A resolution usually means that we want to resolve to improve or better ourselves and that’s always good, especially in the spiritual areas of our lives. I’m always for anything to improve our lives and relationships with our Lord. When it boils down to it, bettering ourselves as Christians involves bettering our relationships with God. We have to draw closer to Him before we can improve our Christian lives. Sure we can make a New Year’s resolution to do that but I think just resolving, day by day, gets the job done in a better way.

Do you remember the old hymn? “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” I can remember that playing off a record when I was little. Okay, some of you don’t know what those are? Round things us ancient people used to play on machines that went round and round called record players. An old form of a cd:) We had a record in our family, I think by Tennessee Ernie Ford with that old song on it and I can remember learning the words when I was quite young.

I am weak but Thou art strong, Jesus keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long, As I walk let me walk close to Thee!
Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be dear Lord, Let it be.

Wade’s Wednesday

Something to think aboutRemember that definition of insanity? For the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

I think about this every time I read another article about “why young people are leaving the Church.” So many of these articles are written by progressives or ex-evangelicals proclaiming that churches must adopt liberal theology, LGBT ideology, and focus on social justice rather than sin and salvation if they hope to survive.

But churches and denominations have already tried this for years, and the ones who have are overwhelmingly old, white, and dying. The churches losing members at a dizzying rate still are the ones that have ordained gay clergy and are preaching a social gospel. On the other hand, their conservative counterparts are growing still.

Look, young people don’t need another institution to make them feel good. They need one that will tell them the truth about sin, and the Savior Who calls them to be transformed in the world, not conformed to it.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour

Jesus Is The Best Gift

Jesus is the best gift ever sent from above,

God’s only Son, filled with His perfect love;

He came down by way of a holy, virgin birth,

To be the Savior of our sinful, wicked earth!

Jesus is the best gift we’ve ever been given.

The perfect Son of God, who came from Heaven;

He became a man to understand our emotions,

What an honor to give Him our love & devotion!

Jesus is the best gift this world has ever seen,

Who shed His blood for our sin upon Calvary;

He gave His life on the old rugged cross,

So no soul will ever be condemned or lost!

Jesus is the best gift we will ever receive,

Salvation is ours, when on Him we believe;

All we need to do is give Him our trust & faith,

Praise Him for providing the way to be saved!

Counting Our Days

from Our Daily Bread

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Last night I stopped at a restaurant for dinner. I was alone and brought my datebook to plan for the next day. After ordering, I gazed at the datebook and realized that this year was almost over. I flipped slowly through the pages of past days and weeks and reviewed the last twelve months.

I was amazed to discover all that can happen in a year: I had accepted a new professional position and moved from Texas to Georgia. Beth and I had witnessed the wedding vows of our first child Drew and welcomed our daughter-in-law Katie Alice into our family. Our son Luke had entered the insurance industry, and our daughter Jodi had graduated from Furman University. Somewhere in the middle of all this, I counseled with dozens of students, preached sermons, conducted funerals and wrote a book. These were just the major events; most of my hours were spent in the routines of living: sleeping, eating, exercise, repairing my car, mowing the lawn, preparing our income tax returns, going to movies, and all the other unremarkable events that fill everyone’s days and nights.

As my food arrived, I realized that the real question confronting me wasn’t, How did I spend last year? But How will I spend the next? How will I use the most precious of God’s gift—life and time?

I can make long lists of things to accomplish and commit myself to New Year’s resolutions. But I really need to do only two things: Love God with all that I am, and love my neighbor as much as I love myself. This is all that really matters.

Lord, keep me from seeing my days as something I own but rather as a gift that comes from You.

Wonders

In the wonders of nature we see God’s laws in operation. Who has not looked up at the stars on a cloudless night and marveled in silent awe at the glory of God’s handiwork? Who has not felt his heart lifted in the spring of the year, as he sees all creation bursting with new life and vigor? In the beauty and abundance around us we see the magnitude of God’s power and the infinite detail of His planning; but nature tells us nothing of God’s love or God’s grace. Conscience tells us in our innermost being of the presence of God and of the moral difference between good and evil; but this is a fragmentary message, in no way as distinct and comprehensive as the lessons of the Bible. It is only in its pages that we find the clear and unmistakable message upon which all true Christianity is based.

Prayer for the day: As I read Your Word, almighty God, clear my mind of needless thoughts, so that I may be aware of Your message for me this day.

Taken from Day by Day with Billy Graham

Heartfelt Greetings

By Helen Steirner Rice

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him —Colossians, 7:17

In her book, Living Christmas Everyday, Helen Steiner Rice asks, “Do you send Christmas cards each year? More and more the custom of sending greetings during the holidays is falling away, due to lack of time, the expense of postage, and an unwillingness to add one more item to a long list of obligations.”

She goes on to say that too often we are simply fulfilling “some misguided social obligation” especially if those cards have no personal greeting—such as those with “an imprinted signature. This communicates only that the recipient was on your list.”

She further suggests is would be good to “Forget about sending cards to everyone you know. . . Instead direct your effort in a more meaningful way by using this Christmas tradition to touch the lives of others. Add a personal note, even if it consists of just a few words. Something from the heart.”

She goes on to suggest that “Sending cards at Christmas is a valuable opportunity to say the things you have been thinking all year— ‘I’m praying for you’. ‘You aren’t forgotten’.”

“Jesus Christ was God’s Christmas card to us. He told us that God still cared, that His love for us was still strong, that He hadn’t forgotten us in our sinful state. His message was heartfelt and full of meaning. When you send your Christmas greeting. . .keep His example in mind.” ©Helen Steiner Rice Foundation 2007

The real Christmas story

Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Twelve Drummers Drumming

Just as drummers beat out a loud, steady rhythm for marchers to follow, so the Apostle’s Creed sets forth the beliefs of those who call themselves Christians.

The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed:

1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.

4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave].

5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

7) I believe in the Holy Spirit,

8) the holy Church,

9) the communion of saints,

10) the forgiveness of sins,

11) the resurrection of the body,

12) and life everlasting.

Although not written by apostles, the Apostles’ Creed reflects the theological formulations of the first century church. The creed’s structure may be based on Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In a time when most Christians were illiterate, oral repetition of the Apostles’ Creed, along with the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments, helped preserve and transmit the faith of the western churches.

So that certainly puts greater light on just how powerful the 12 Days of Christmas song really is.

Eleven Pipers Piping


The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

This reminds me to always stay faithful to God and to his cause.

This symbolizes the 11 apostles who were chosen by Jesus and remained faithful to Him—
Like children joyfully following a piper, these disciples followed Jesus—
They also called others to follow Him—They piped an everlasting tune of great joy—the salvation message!

These 11 apostles followed Jesus to the bitter end—All but one being martyred for their faith—
James—beheaded by Herod (Acts 12)
Philip—crucified in AD 54
Matthew—axed in Ethiopia AD 60
Andrew—crucified
Peter—crucified upside down in Rome
Bartholomew—cruelly beaten & crucified in India
Thomas—pierced by a spear and killed also in India
Simon the Zealot—crucified in Britain—AD 74
Thaddeus— He was crucified AD 72.
James, the son of Alphaeus—beaten to death at the age of 94

Ten Lords A-leaping


The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God’s name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

(Lords were men with authority to command people’s obedience.)
Ten Lords a-leaping symbolize God’s ten basic laws—
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!
You shall have no other gods before me
Do not make an idol
Do not take God’s name in vain
Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy
Honor your father and mother
Do not murder
Do not commit adultery
Do not steal
Do not bear false witness
Do not covet