by Milton Hubbard
The latest chapter of your life known as 2015 is about to come to an end. A new chapter known as 2016 is about to begin. 2016 will have 366 days. Each day will have 24 hours. Each hour will have 60 minutes. Each minute will have 60 seconds.
You will spend your hours, minutes, and seconds in submission to the will of God or in pursuit of your own will and desires. Whatever you do cannot be redone when you reach the end of each day. The good that is done and the bad that is done will stand as a testimony to the will of your flesh or the will of God.
Seconds, minutes, and hours often seem insignificant as we navigate through this thing called life. But when we compare them to eternity, nothing could be farther from the truth.
I received a Christmas card this week from a special friend I met in Wichita after Kathy had the stroke. Her name is Theresa and her brother was in the same hospital after suffering a very severe stroke himself. We met in what seemed like a coincidence on our way into the hospital. I later discovered it was a "Godincidence". She saw me carrying a Bible and that started a conversation that seemed like it would be history in 2 minutes. She asked me to say a prayer for her brother. I said, "Ok" and we parted ways.
Bret was with me and asked if I thought I should go to his room. I said, "Probably" and let it drop. I was focused on Kathy and was insensitive to the urgency of the moment. Thirty minutes later Kelsey asked if I was going to go and pray for the woman's brother. I said, "Probably".
I eventually ended up in the man's room through the prompting of my children. I was there by divine appointment and was able to seize 3-4 minutes of coherency where Dave was able to comprehend the plan of salvation as I allowed the Holy Spirit to use me [in spite of me.] In those moments leading to eternity Dave asked Jesus to be Lord of his life.
In 2 days he was dead. [I strongly suspect that the reward will go to my children…but it really does not matter.] Theresa sent me a card thanking me for my kindness in taking TIME to talk to her brother who was an atheist.
As we begin 2016 we need to remember that we are surrounded by people heading for eternity. We may be the only influence they encounter. It's been said that the length of a minute depends on which side of the bathroom door you are standing. It's much more than that. The length of a minute…or the length of eternity depends on whether or not a person knows Jesus as Lord.
Ask God to give you an eternal perspective on the 1440 minutes He gives you each day. It WILL make a difference on where someone spends eternity!
Christmas exists as a celebration of the birth of Jesus who came to change a world that had deteriorated greatly since the sin in the Garden. It is NOT about Black Friday. Neither is it about the apparent prelude to Black Friday, which is now Black Thursday. It is NOT about Cyber Monday. It is NOT about Santa Clause, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, or Jingle Bells. It is NOT about parades and sales and credit card debt. CHRISTmas is about the birth of CHRIST…the LAMB of God who came to take away the SIN of the world!!!
Without God becoming flesh and being born in a stable and sleeping in a manger there would be NO CHRISTmas!
The celebration of a person's birth is an annual observance. People often get together for a party where gifts are given to the person whose birthday is being celebrated. Can you imagine being 7 years old and having a birthday party with cake and ice cream and all of YOUR friends are with YOU to help celebrate YOUR birthday when they suddenly start exchanging YOUR gifts with each other?
How would you feel if YOUR friends totally ignored YOU and focused their attention on themselves and each other at YOUR birthday party? Would YOU be hurt? Would YOU be disillusioned? Would YOU be disappointed? WHY? Because it is YOUR birthday party but everyone is oblivious as to the real reason for the festivities.
The party is supposed to be about YOU and for YOU. If YOU had not been born YOUR friends would not have gathered together to help celebrate YOUR birth. There would be no reason for YOUR birthday celebration. The birthday party is inseparably connected to YOUR birth. WITHOUT YOUR BIRTH THERE IS NO REASON FOR A PARTY OR CELEBRATION!!!!!!!!!!
How would YOU feel if 20 friends showed up to celebrate YOUR birthday and eat ice cream and cake when one of them announced that he had 19 tickets for a movie matinee? YOUR friend distributes the tickets to all of YOUR friends after they have exchanged YOUR gifts and they all take off for the movie without even saying "Goodbye". YOU are left alone with paper plates, crumbs, dishes that once contained ice cream, and torn up gift-wrapping paper scattered around your house. YOU are alone because YOUR friend only had 19 tickets and did not offer YOU one. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL?
CHRISTmas is the celebration of the BIRTH of the CHRIST child, the Messiah. How does He feel when people totally ignore the reason for the season and focus only on themselves and other people?
I suspect that He is saddened by much of what occurs in the days leading up to the celebration of His birth. Perhaps this is the time for individual introspection. If CHRISTmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, what gift does He want from us? Peter talks about Christ being the hidden person of the heart. It would appear that Jesus desires unrestricted access to our hearts, wills, and emotions. He wants us to honor His birth by making Him Lord of our thoughts, words, actions, and desires.
It would also appear that Jesus would like us to give careful consideration to the reading and implementation of Matthew 25:31-46 into our lives at CHRISTmas and throughout the year.
The busyness of life and our insensitivity to the needs of others can cause all of us to miss the promptings of the Holy Spirit. If that has happened to any of you, we are genuinely sorry and ask for your forgiveness. We are extremely grateful to the Holy Spirit for placing you in this Body. Our prayer and desire is for you to experience His Presence and a glorious CHRISTmas celebration.
Milton Hubbard has served as Pastor of Living Word Assembly since 1977
Ryan Wheeler serves as Associate Pastor at Living Word Assembly.