Christmas and Jesus

For some reason the Christmas season this year is stirring my heart more than usual to think about the real meaning of Christmas globally and personally.

On the global scene I have watched, in my 64 years of living, the gradual and sometimes not so gradual demise of the recognition of the  meaning of Christmas.  For many the loss of conscience thought regarding what Christmas is all about is innocent.  And by innocent I mean not intentional or malicious.  People just get lost in the rush and fuss of life. The frantic panic of Christmas shopping and Christmas parties and social events and family time can certainly crowd Jesus out of His rightful place in our hearts and in our “Christmas” activities.  I find it alarming that we can put on the grandest celebrations of Christmas (Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ) and completely lose sight of the very One whose birth and life we celebrate.  How can such a thing happen?

But then there is the intentional rejection of Jesus Christ…and the intentional rejection of the Real Reason for the Season.  No public displays of the Nativity.  No more saying “Merry Christmas.”  No more talk about the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the One and Only way of Salvation.  There has been a concentrated effort to marginalize Jesus and Christians in 21st century culture.  And the tragedy is that we Christians have been like the proverbial “frog in the kettle.”  We have become so accustomed to the politically correct requirements of a secular culture that we have contributed to the removal of the nativities and the Merry Christmas greetings and more.

This year I am at a place that the scales of my conscience are weighing what is truly important and eternal.  Living life…living life in the real world …has a way of sobering a person and challenging priorities and perspective.  This can a painful process…but it is a process that can produce wonderful results to the person who responds correctly to the process.  It is like the weeding of the garden, the pruning of the tree, the removing of the rocks from the new ground.  (Yes, I grew up in the country.)  Sometimes it takes circumstances to help us be honest with ourselves.  Circumstances can be like a mirror or like a true friend.  This honesty will enable a person to know what is really and truly important in life.

Well, none of us ever get to the end of the process.  We will be perpetual students in life.  But we can grow and we can learn.  And we should grow and we should learn.  We should become better persons…and better Christians….growing, maturing and transforming into the very likeness of Christ who indwells every true believer.

What is important?  First and foremost…our relationship with Jesus Christ.  If this part of life is wrong then nothing else can be right.  Stuart Briscoe once said, “God meets man on the level of his desire, man can have as much of God as he wants.”  I love this statement.  Do you have as much of God as you want?  Going deeper with Him requires a hunger and a thirst for Him.

What is important?  Family!  My dear friends don’t pursue a life that leaves your family behind.  Give your family the place God has designated in your life.  Family are the ones who love you unconditionally and stand by you in the good and the bad times.  You want your family at your side when you come to the finish line.  Don’t leave them behind.

What is important?  Friends!   Wow!  You are talking about life teaching you some hard lessons.  Life has a way of sorting out lots of things.  When life reveals to you who you true friends are you can say that you have made a marvelous discovery.  A friend is someone who walks into your life when the rest of the world is walking out of your life.  A friend loves, forgives, accepts, encourages …a friend will tell you the truth…a friend will love you unconditionally…a friend is treasure.

You have friend.  His name is Jesus.  He came to earth just over 2000 years ago.  Born of a virgin in Bethlehem.  He is the Son of God…the Savior of the world.  John said: “For God so love the world (me)that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Christmas is about the greatest gift ever given!  The gift of Jesus is available to all who will come to Him and receive.  I pray that you have received this marvelous Gift.

Roger Willmore

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Selwyn Hughes, “Everyday With Jesus”

MEET A MAN WHO RICH BLESSES MY LIFE:

SELWYN HUGHES

Selwyn Hughes is a man whose ministry I missed in the early years of my Christian life.  I really don’t know how I did not connect with his writings many years ago.  Sadly, I did not.  A few years ago I served for a time on the LifeWay Christian Resources Board of Trustees.  During my tenure of service LifeWay, B&H publishers, was publishing the writings of Selwyn Hughes.  His devotional books were beautifully bound and contain comments and art by Thomas Kinkade.  I availed myself to the books at that time, but it was not until I put them into my wife’s hands and she began to read them that I was really introduced to Hughes.  My wife began to read the daily devotions and “every day”(a Hughes title) she shared with me nuggets of truth and insights she had gained in her quiet time.  I was so taken by what Selwyn Hughes writings were in her life I began to read for myself and what I found was pure gold.  My only regret in writing this testimonial is that B&H no longer publishes Selwyn Hughes writings.  I think they are missing out on providing a great resource to hungry Christians. 

Selwyn Hughes, a Welshman, was born on April 27, 1928.  He became known for his devotional writings under the title “Every Day With Jesus.”  How this all came about in his life is a fascinating story in and of itself. He founded  Christian ministry Crusade for World Revival. George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, described Hughes as a “giant in the faith.”

Selwyn Hughes died on January 9, 2006.  However, He being dead…still speaks.

At the moment I am reading Everyday Light, Water for the Soul.  I am in the section on the Fruit of the Spirit.  I am reading this section because daily my wife is reminding me of truths she is gleaning.  Again, I discovered a gold mine.  No fluff…no cotton candy…nothing of the kind.  Every word is “meat.”  Every word is relevant and personal and biblical and TRUE.

Here are a few excerpts:

Day 244:  The fruit of the Spirit is just one aspect of the Spirit-filled life.  It is an over-simplification, but the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian moves in tow important directions- to produce purity and to produce power.  The power aspect can be in seen in the study of the gifts of the Spirit and the purity aspect can be seen in a study of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Both are of equal importance.

Day 247:  Here Hughes describes some of the first characteristic of the Fruit of the Spirit: LOVE.  He says, The love which flows in our hearts  when we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit is not a general love but a specific one-the love of Christ.  This love dulls the edge of disappointment and enables us to be invulnerable to many things, not least a lack of appreciation. 

Day 248:  How can we ensure that the love which surges in the Heart of God surges also in us?  We must not strain to love, but allow the love of God to flow within us.  Dr. W.E. Sangster, the famous Methodist preacher, said that those who best manifest God’s love are those who have had a blinding realization of the love of God and whose own love flames in response.  (wow!  what an insight…so simple, yet so profound!  RDW)

Day 249:;  When we perceive how much God loves us, an amazing affect is produced in our personalities- we begin to love like Him.  We cannot help it.  Love- agape love- is not the fruit of labor; it is a response.  When we stand at the foot of Calvary, the place where the love of God is fully focused and caught up, the scales drop from our eyes and our own love flames in response.  We love Him because He first loved us.  ….Don’t try to manufacture love.  Linger in the shadow of the cross.  The love of God finds its most burning expression there.  Meditate on it.  Contemplate it. 

Have you read to this point?  I gave only a few nuggets…but oh how rich!!!

 

 

 

More Poems by Tracy Moore

I have received nice and positive comments both on the site and in person regarding the last post containing a Tracy Moore poem.  Tracy is a gifted writer and she has a very practical and Christian way of looking at life.  To know her is to increase your appreciation for everything she writes.  I am honored that she has given me permission to post some of her work.  Enjoy!        

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Todd and Tracy Moore

SOMEWHERE

By: Tracy Moore

Pine boughs
Silver Balls
Frost upon the glass
Somewhere you hear tinkling
And music from the brass

Feet rustle
People hustle
Back and forth they go
Somewhere thee is laughter
Amidst the crunch of snow

Warm bread
Hot Tea
Something rich and sweet
Somewhere people mill about
With plenty there to eat

But…

What of decoration
What music, laughter, food
No warmth, no place, no care
Just another day
Somewhere

TIME PASSES ON

By: Tracy Moore

How fleeting is this life we live
Each day is but a breath to give.
We say that this will always be.
What? Time? It passes on.

A day turns into three, six, five
Just one more year to be alive.
What was it that I meant to do?
Well, time?  It passes on.

One year now, it turns to ten.
Tomorrow? Well, maybe then.
It’s always when we meant to start.
But time?  It passes on.

Year by year, the time goes by.
Slow it down?  Don’t even try.
Pretend to simply let it be.
And time?  It passes on.

We have the little things we say.
To get us through, right now, today.
But left undone is so much more.
For time?  It passes on.

It robs what it never had.
You miss it then, it’s just too bad.
We know where it goes now.
How time, it passes on.

Time is not a friend you see.
Takes from you, takes from me.
It simply steals with no regard.
Still, time?  It passes on.

Don’t leave behind. Don’t forget.
Don’t live now what you will regret.
For memory serves no mercy here!
Time?  It passes on.

I hope you have found these two poems thought provoking and encouraging…and maybe a bit admonishing.  Provoke to thought!  Isn’t that poets do?  Thank you Tracy.

 

 

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS POEM by Tracy Moore

One of the great blessings in Christian ministry is the blessing of meeting God’s special and choice servants who are actively working in various parts of the Lord’s vineyard.  Ministry happens in many places and through all kinds of people.  At the moment I have in mind two special friends, Todd and Tracy Moore, who serve the Lord faithfully at the John Croyle Big Oak Ranch for girls.  The better I get to know these two, the more I love and respect them.  Tracy is a gifted poet.  When I was her pastor I got to see her writings from time to time, especially her Easter and Christmas poems.  I asked her permission to share the following Christmas poem.  I know you will be blessed as you read them.  Please enjoy:

 

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Todd and Tracy Moore

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR JESUS

There are lights on the tree
There’s a fire in the den
Gifts are piled in one corner
It’s Your birthday again.

Happy Birthday dear Jesus
What did You get this year?
Was it something You wanted?
Or did it leave a tear?

Happy Birthday dear Jesus
Did Your gift come with a bow?
Was it Love for all men,
Friend, family, or foe?

Happy Birthday dear Jesus
Was Your story even read?
Did they X out Your name?
“Season’s Greetings” instead?

Happy Birthday dear Jesus
There was food for the poor
But what of the others?
All 364?

Happy Birthday dear Jesus
I’m so glad that you came
For this day is special
I wish all were the same.

Happy Birthday dear Jesus.

By Tracy Moore

More to come.  Please share Tracy’s poem with others.  She has gift of writing and her poetic words help us to have the right understanding of Christmas.

 

 

 

 

Prayer Conference in Trinidad

I have just returned from ministry in Trinidad & Tobago.  I have been there many times since my first visit in 1994, when I went down to preach in a series of Keswick Christian Life Conventions.  In the beginning I felt an immediate connection with the country, the culture and the people.  At that time I was very involved with the young people. I went to school assemblies and spoke to several hundred students at a time.  It was wonderful.  From the first children and teens called me “Uncle”  Roger.  Many still do.  I have lots of nieces and nephews now.

When I return home from my ministry trips to Trinidad I do so always with the same thoughts on my mind.  I think of the pastors and church leaders who serve so faithfully.  Their material resources are limited, but their faithfulness to God is strong.  They do so much…so often, with so little.

My connection with Trinidad & Tobago began as a result of my friendship with Dr. Stephen F. Olford, the world renowned expositor and “Keswick Convention Speaker.”  Almost fifty years ago Dr. Olford was instrumental in launching Keswick in T & T.  For  35 years, until his death in August of 2004, Dr. Olford was my friend and mentor.  I am indebted to him for many of the opportunities to preach the Word of God globally.  He suggested me to the Keswick Committees in T & T.  I am forever thankful.

Pastor Mitch John had a heart to give leadership to an annual prayer conference retreat held at Camp Ridgewalk in Lily Trace, Siperia, Trinidad.  He invited me to be the speaker.  I gave a series of messages on the topic of prayer.  I addressed What Prayer Is; What Prayer is Not; Who Can Pray?; Conditions for Answered Prayer; How to Pray; and Hinderances to Prayer.  It was a good time well spent.

In addition the study, there were also seasons of prayer where all participants were called upon to pray for specific things.  I remember the season of prayer for the country, for the government workers and leaders.  Much prayer was offered for the President and the Prime Minister and those who work with these leaders.  It was a time of serious prayer.

I encourage you to pray for pastors and churches in Trinidad & Tobago.  RDW