Twas the Night Before Jesus Came
Twas the night before Jesus came, and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!
The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "It's not here" my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and this sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!
When most people hear "The 12 days of Christmas" they think of the song.
This song had it's origins as a teaching tool to instruct young people in the meaning and content of the Christian faith.
From 1558 to 1829 Roman Catholics in England were not able to practice their faith openly so they had to find other ways to pass on their beliefs. The song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is one example of how they did it.
The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..."
The "true love" represents God and the "me" who receives these presents is the Christian.
The "partridge in a pear tree" was Jesus Christ who died on a tree as a gift from God.
The "two turtle doves" were the Old and New Testaments-another gift from God.
The "three French hens" were faith, hope and love-the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1Corinthians 13).
The "four calling birds" were the four Gospels which sing the song of
salvation through Jesus Christ.
The "five golden birds" were the first five books of the Bible also called
the "Book of Moses."
The "six geese a-laying" were the six days of creation.
The "seven swans a swimming" were "seven gifts of the Holy Spirit."
(1Corinthians 12:9-11, Romans 12, Ephsesians 4, 1Peter 4:10-11) The "eight maids a milking" were the eight beatitudes.
The "nine ladies dancing" were nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
The "ten lords a-leaping" were the Ten Commandments.
The "eleven pipers piping" were the eleven faithful disciples.
The "twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of the Apostles'
So the next time you hear "The 12 Days of Christmas" consider how this
otherwise non-religious sounding song had its origins in the Christian
God won't ask what kind of fancy car you drove.
He will ask how many people you took to church who didn't have transportation.
God won't ask the square footage of your house.
He will ask how many people you helped who didn't have a house.
God won't ask how many fancy clothes you had in your closet.
He will ask how many of those clothes you gave away.
God won't ask how many material possessions you had.
He will ask whether those material possession dictated your life.
God won't ask what your highest salary was.
He will ask if you trampled over any people to obtain that salary.
God won't ask what your job title was.
He will ask did you perform your job to the best of your ability.
God won't ask how many times you didn't run around on your spouse.
He will ask how many times you did.
God won't ask how many degrees you had.
He will ask how many people you thanked for helping you get those degrees.
God won't ask what your parents did to help you.
He will ask what you did to help your parents.
God won't ask what you did to help yourself.
He will ask what you did to help others.
God won't ask how many friends you had.
He will ask how many people you were a friend to.
God won't ask what you did to protect your rights.
He will ask what you did to protect the rights of others.
God won't ask what neighborhood you lived in.
He will ask what other neighborhoods you visited.
God won't ask how many times you told the truth.
He will ask how many times you told a lie.
God won't ask about the color of your skin.
He will ask about the color of your heart.
God won't ask how many times your deeds matched your words.
He will ask how many times they didn't.
All of us will stand before God someday and everything we did, said, and thought will all come to light. I don't know about you but I have some things I want to make right.
A cheerful heart is good medicine... Prov 17:22
The Lord's Prayer
I cannot say "our" if I live only for myself.
I cannot say "Father" if I do not endeavor each day to act like his child.
I cannot say "who art in heaven" if I am laying up no treasure there.
I cannot say "hallowed be thy name" if I am not striving for holiness.
I cannot say "thy Kingdom come" if I am not doing all in my power to hasten
that wonderful event.
I cannot say "thy will be done" if I am disobedient to his Word.
I cannot say "on earth as it is in heaven" if I'll not serve him here and now.
I cannot say "give us this day our daily bread" if I am dishonest or am seeking things by subterfuge.
I cannot say "forgive us our debts" if I harbor a grudge against anyone.
I cannot say "lead us not into temptation" if I deliberately place myself in its path.
I cannot say "deliver us from evil" if I do not put on the whole armor of God.
I cannot say "thine is the kingdom" if I do not give the King the loyalty due him from a faithful subject.
I cannot attribute to him "the power" if I fear what men may do.
I cannot ascribe to him "the glory" if I'm seeking honor only for myself, and
I cannot say "forever" if the horizon of my life is bounded completely by time.
Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods.
They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with
intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty."
Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me
because of the strength of my hull."
Finally the third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest and
straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."
After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter" And he began cutting it down. The tree was happy because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.
At the second tree a woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree so I'll take this one", and he cut it
When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.
The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.
The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.
The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do.
The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.
Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke
the sleeping man, and he stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.
Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was
carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to
the tree and raised inthe air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was
possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.
The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but...His ways are even better than we could have ever imagined!!!!
I SHED SOME BLOOD FOR HIM
By Roy L. Spinks
A young couple was deliriously happy when a beautiful little girl was born.
This young couple was unsaved; in fact they had somehow grown to hate
anything and everything that had anything to do with God, and His
Son Jesus Christ. Instead of doing as they should, and presenting the baby
to the Lord for His blessing, they made a vow that the little girl, whom we
shall call Melinda was never to be allowed exposure to anything
that had anything to do with Christianity. Throughout her young girlhood she
wasn't allowed to go to Sunday school. If a preacher or soul winners from a
local church visited their home, Melinda was sent to her room
before the visitors were let in.
Melinda's parents and grandparents were well to do; and she had more toys
and dolls than she could keep up with, and ate only the best of foods and
wore the very best clothing money could buy. Her parents made sure of
her secular and cultural training. She studied piano, voice, and ballet with
the best teachers and instructors' money could afford. But her parents were
doing a very good job of keeping her away from learning anything
about the Lord.
One-day Melinda's mother was baking her husband a birthday cake, and she
discovered that she lacked a certain ingredient. She called her beautiful
nine-year old daughter and gave her some money and sent her to the store to
purchase the ingredient. Her orders were that the girl should go straight
down the street to the store, purchase the article and come straight home.
Melinda, glad to be going out in the sunny spring day, skipped down the
street, went into the store and purchased the article, and started back
Melinda decided it might be fun to take a different route home. So she
turned left at an intersection and walked up a back street. She knew that it
would intersect a little farther up with the street that would lead to her
home, so no harm could come of it... As she walked along. She began to hear
some pretty singing and music, and the farther she walked, the louder it
became. Finally, she saw that the singing and music was coming from a big
building just across the street from her. Melinda loved music and singing,
and she possessed the natural curiosity of a nine-year-old, so she crossed
the street and entered the building.
Though she didn't know it, this was a mission house, and inside was a goodly
number of down-and-outers: a cross section of the folks from the lower
echelon of society; but many seated there had experienced the regenerating
power of receiving Jesus Christ into their lives. Some were there, just
fulfilling their obligation for having been given breakfast and perhaps some
article of clothing. As Melinda shyly entered, they looked back
and smiled at the beautiful little girl. She sat down in back, thinking she
would stay just a little while and listen to the group on the podium singing
such a beautiful song, but one she had never heard before. The group
finished their song, and a pleasant-face gentleman came to the podium and
welcomed the assemblage.
After a word of prayer, he began to preach. Melinda knew she should get up
and hurry on home, but something seemed to hold her to her seat. The
preacher was talking about Who Jesus is, and the many compassionate
miracles he performed, and finally describing his arrest, trial and cruel
treatment by the Roman solders and King Herod Antipas' guards; and finally
his crucifixion. "At that very time of year when lambs were being
sacrificed for a covering for sin, Jesus Christ became the Lamb of God; not
to cover our sins, but to take them away. Jesus had never committed a sin as
we have, but he took all our sins to the Cross, and was nailed
there: shedding His precious blood to cleanse us from all sin and make us
ready to go to Heaven." The missionary preached on about why it was
necessary for Christ to come down to earth and give His life on Calvary's
cross to pay our sin debt.
Tears flowed from Melinda's beautiful hazel eyes.
The singing group came back to the podium to join the missionary, the piano
started up, and they began to sing "There's Room at the Cross for You."
After the first verse and chorus the missionary began the altar
call. With the group singing softly, "Some of you have gone too long, living
you life without Jesus and his wonderful gift of salvation." He said. "Here
at the mission house we have offered many of you gifts of
food, shelter and articles of clothing. You accepted those gifts, and we're
glad; but a greater gift is being offered: the greatest gift ever offered to
anyone the free gift of salvation. And with that gift, another wonderful
thing comes to pass: you are adopted into the family of God and become joint
heirs with Christ." Melinda found herself walking down the aisle to the
altar in front of the podium. Her face was streaked with tears. A lady knelt
beside Melinda and hugged her; then took her Bible and quietly explained how
she could give her heart and life to Jesus and be saved. Melinda repeated
the sinner's prayer. There was "joy unspeakable and full of glory" in
Melinda's heart as she left the mission house.
When she had started from home there was a warm sun shining, but now a cold
rain was pouring down. Melinda knew she would be punished for being gone so
long and worrying her parents. By the time she arrived home her pretty dress
was drenched, and her blonde curls hung limp down the side of her face. She
shivered. Melinda's mother angrily jerked her around to face her, plying her
with questions about where she had been so long. Her father came in with an
expression on his face that scared Melinda.
Finally, she spoke, "Mama - Daddy -- I'm sorry I worried you by being gone
so long, but I have something wonderful to tell you. I heard some pretty
singing and music, and went inside a building. They told me all about Jesus
dying on a cross. Mama, Daddy; I gave my heart to Jesus."
Melinda was interrupted by a loud anguished sound coming from deep in her
father's throat. He uttered
blasphemous profane exclamations, and became, as a man possessed. Melinda
had never seen her father like that: then she saw him strip off his heavy
belt and approach her. Melinda's mother wept in loud cries as her
husband beat her daughter until she fell to the floor, mercifully passing
For two days Melinda was confined to her bedroom. The harsh beating had left
not only bruises, but also lacerations. Her mother applied ointments and
alcohol rub, saying very little; sometimes with tears in her eyes. The
morning of the third day, Melinda awakened with a raging fever and raspy
breathing. A doctor was summoned; his diagnosis being double pneumonia.
These were the days before penicillin was available. Several medications
were tried, but Melinda's condition only worsened. The fever raged on; and
Melinda moved in and out of consciousness; sometimes murmuring
bits and pieces of the wonderful things she had heard at the mission. Her
mother sat by her bed patting her forehead with a cold cloth. The doctor
came by briefly, leaving the room sadly shaking his head.
Just before dark Melinda sat up in bed and called for her mother. Her mother
had lost a lot of sleep, and had dozed off when she was awakened by
Melinda's call. When she saw her sitting up in bed it gave her a
happy start. She thought the fever had broke and there would be a chance for
Melinda to recover after all.
"Mama. "Melinda said softly. "Yes, sweetheart; I'm here." "Mama, I want you
to bring me the dress I was
wearing that day." "No honey." Her mother groaned. "You don't want to see
that thing. It was soiled and torn -- and - had some bloodstains on it. I
threw it in the trash." "Please Mama; go and get it for me." "But why,
Melinda?" Her mother protested Melinda's father appeared in the doorway of
the bedroom with guilt and grief written all over his haggard face. Melinda
had lain back down again, closing her eyes. She hadn't seen her father
She spoke softly, but loud enough for both parents to hear her final words
on earth. "Mama, an angel came and told me I would be going to Heaven soon.
I wanted to take the dress with me so I could show Jesus that I shed
some blood for him."