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Epaphroditus

  While in a Roman prison, the Apostle Paul writes a letter to the Church in Philippi. In this letter he mentions a specific believer named Epaphroditus. Philippians 2:25 , “Yet I consider it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier….” Chances are, despite reading Philippians before, we may not have “caught on” to this man named Epaphroditus . After all, he really isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament other than this short recognition by Paul. I find it interesting that what is said about Epaphroditus is worth mentioning. No, he may not have been a “famous Bible character.” No, he may not have had vivid and gallant stories written about him such as Moses, David, Daniel or Peter, but they are still worth recalling as he was a huge help to Paul. Paul refers to Epaphroditus as his brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier. In his letter, Epaphroditus is described as a lover of people, a risk taker, tireless worker, and one who
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Faith of Epiphany

  The first week of January, regardless of year, holds within the Church a celebration known as “ Epiphany .” The word means “manifestation” and refers to God revealing Himself “in the flesh” through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is also a time to mark the appearance of the Three Wise Men who were some of the first to recognize and worship Christ as King. The “Epiphany” revelation or “manifestation” is that God unveils Himself to the world. Through Jesus His Son, He shows Himself as fully human and fully divine. That He is real. That He is our Triune God. Epiphany, to our faith, is a powerful testimony of God’s unconditional love. His love for us compelled Him to send His Son into the world to save us from our sinfulness. God took the initiative. God made all the arrangements. God paid the price to make this happen. In other words, it was His idea and decision all along. He did everything to make reconciliation with Him possible. His desire to have a loving and personal relationship wi

Christmastide

“Merry Christmas!” We say it often this time of year in preparation for December 25 th and recognizing the birth of Jesus Christ. As many times as we greet each other with this phrase, have we ever wondered it’s origin? After all, what is a “Christmas?”   The word “Christmas” comes from an old English phrase “Christes maesse” that means “Christ’s Mass.” We know that “Mass” means “sending forth” which is what God chose to do with His son…send Him forth into the world. John 1:14 , “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”   The word “Mass” was a common term (and still used in some Churches today) for the weekly gathering of worship. In most cases, the Protestant churches today simply call this gathering “Church” or “Worship” in reference to the main, weekly Sunday service.   So, when we say, “Christmas,” we are actually saying “The Mass of Christ” or “The Chu

Adventus!

  God the Father has never stopped His passion of revealing Himself to us so that we can have a loving relationship with Him. We read in Jeremiah 31:3 , “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.” This reminds me of James 4:8 , “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” Our Heavenly Father has no intentions of hiding or making it difficult to draw near to Him for a loving, personal and intimate relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. Our only requirement is that we want this relationship desperately enough to pursue it. We must make the decision as well as the effort for such a personal relationship. Jeremiah 29:13 , “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” It isn’t a matter of whether or not you have never heard of Him, lost touch through neglect, allowed life’s circumstances to affect your beliefs negatively, or have had your faith awakened to this opportunity. The fact remains, God wants

Joy to the World

                                                    “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare him room, And heaven and nature sing.   “Joy to the world” is perhaps one of the more popular Christmas hymns that is probably sung more than once each season. Were you aware of its unique heritage? Written by Isaac Watts in 1719 , it was based off of Psalm 98:4-9, Psalm 96:11-12, and Genesis 3:17-18. The song celebrates and highlights Christ’s second coming (Advent) as the Prince of Peace much more than the first (birth/Messiah).   It speaks as an expression of joy over the marvelous works of God to bring salvation to the world through the babe of Bethlehem who is Christ the Lord. As Psalm 96:11-12 , tells us, “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”   In fact, if you want to get

Kingdom People

  There is a very interesting exchange during the conversation between Jesus and Pilate on whether Jesus is really a King. Jesus answers in John 18:36 , “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and receive Him as Lord and Savior, we too, become a part of that Kingdom that is “not of this world.” Philippians 3:10 , “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” If we are Christians and we now know that we are citizens of Heaven, then it is a logical conclusion to not only say that we are citizens, but to live and show proof that we are such citizens. We should not only talk and act like heavenly citizens, but promote the Good News of this “coming Kingdom” so that others may become aware so that they can give their lives to

Always Thankful

The Thanksgiving holiday is once again upon us. I’m sure we’ve already written out our dinner menu and have the turkey in the deep freezer. Now that we’re ready, we may have already turned some of our attention to coming up with some ideas for the Christmas season. The end of every year is filled with exciting holidays and it is a joyous season indeed.   However, can we just pause for now? Stop. Think. Let’s not get too far ahead to Christmas just yet. Let’s focus on Thanksgiving for now. Although Thanksgiving is a nationally recognized holiday that comes just one day a year, we know that it is a state of being every single day of our lives. We should be thankful all the time and grateful for everything.   1 Thessalonians 5:18 , “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” You can give thanks every day and in all things because thanksgiving is a response to the goodness and grace of God. God’s nature does not change just because a