Daily Word Archives

What Open Door posts on Facebook - December 2013


Many churches begin singing some Christmas songs, carols or specials on the first Sunday in December. We do and we also have the privilege of sharing Communion. That is a great way to start the Christmas season. There is an interesting Christmas song that has a communion theme with these words:

Whispered prayers, winter nights, carol songs, candle light

Silently we bow our souls before the One the manger holds

This tiny infant King is born to

One day wear the nails and thorns



                        This is the beautiful body and blood

                        Lamb that is offered by heaven’s love

                        Born to be broken and spilled out for us

                        Beautiful body and blood


His mother’s kiss on tender feet that will walk a hill of destiny

Tiny hands by His side will on that day be open wide

He’ll bear each sin of yours and mine

So we take the bread and wine


It is interesting that we can picture the baby Jesus in the manger in stark contrast to the picture of Him carrying the cross and being crucified. As we consider the path that each one of us has taken from our earliest childhood memories, may we be more determined to fulfill all the plans that God has for us.


A willing and obedient heart would be a great gift to our Lord this Christmas.




For those of you who keep up with festivities and church traditions during this time, you may know that yesterday was the start of Advent. If you look it up, you will find more information than you take in - about where and when it started, how it is looked upon differently in various parts of the world, denominational differences, etc. Advent means a coming or a beginning - of course the coming of Jesus as we are here at Christmas. One of the original purposes of Advent was to make preparations in regards to celebrating the coming of Jesus. The message of Advent is that Christmas is more than just the day we commemorate the birth of Jesus.


We know that Lent is a time to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the resurrection. Advent is to be that way for Christmas.


One thing that has happened is that preparation has became more external than internal. The decorations, the presents, the lights, trees, manger scenes - these are the external things that are readily seen.


We enjoy the decorations, colors, and music but we should not forget the internal - that as we celebrate the birth of Jesus at the manger, we should more celebrate His birth in us and the new life He gives us.


May Jesus be seen in us as much as in these things we enjoy. We desire to walk worthy of the Lord and be fruitful in every good work that we may be a blessing to others ~ Colossians 1:10


Lord help us prepare for the best celebration of the coming of Jesus.




Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. ~ Colossians 4:6

Knowing how we ought to answer every man is a wonderful blessing. We pray God grant us great skill in this area in this day and time.




Yesterday we mentioned the verse that talks about knowing how we ought to answer every man  - Colossians 4:6.


Notice that it does not say we should know how to answer every question. Jesus did not answer every person's question, but He directed the conversation to the needs of the person and will of the Father. His words to Nicodemus is a prime example.


We know it is uncomfortable when we get hammered in a conversation and we do not know how to respond. People like to have a mental list of answers and "witty comebacks" in order to make their points.


If we are not careful we can get over in the flesh, put others down and say things just to declare we have won the argument. If you do a search on Christian answers to tough questions, you will find a lot of ideas that can be used. As an example:


Someone tells you there are no absolute truths and no definite right or wrong. You could then respond by saying "Then your statement cannot be absolutely true since you say there are no absolute truths. Further, your statement cannot be definitely right or wrong according to what you propose. Therefore no intelligent person should believe what you just said."


People, many Christians included, have a long list of these types of comebacks for all types of statements. But often the snappy answers are used to belittle, demean others, or make ourselves look good. This should not be our intent if we want to win people to Christ (not just win an argument).


May we speak the truth in love and be able to refute arguments and statements that are wrong. That we might be people who by sound doctrine may be able to exhort and convince the gainsayer (those who contradict) ~ Titus 1:9


May God give us wisdom to balance these aspects in the way we speak and we remember the words of James 3:2 ~  For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.




Note these verses from Proverbs:


I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. ~ Proverbs 24:30-31


Now verse 32: Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.


Does this verse describe us? Do we consider what we see and receive instruction? Or do we ignore it and go on our way? Do we act the same way but reason that it would never happen to us - we are smarter than that! To borrow an expression from our young folks - NOT!


Lord help us to consider what we see and receive instruction. Know that it can be good or bad, right or wrong. Help us to discern the difference and act upon it.


This is good instruction for all of us.




Many of us are in full swing regarding our Christmas preparations and we are doing it in honor of Jesus.


Something that should be a part of it is doing something for those in need or experiencing problems. We could also do it in such a way that the recipients would never know who did something for them other than God.


We remember words from the hymn "Others":


Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
Then even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for OTHERS.

Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I do for YOU
Must needs be done for OTHERS.

Others, Lord, yes, others --
Let this my motto be;
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.--


Heavenly Father, show me the "others" that You have for me to bless this Christmas.




As the date is December 7, many know why we remember December 7, 1941. It is the day that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. It is doubtful that any of us reading this remembers the event first-hand.


We were taught what happened, we learned about it in school, or perhaps a relative shared the experience with us. Our children today will have to learn it the same way, it will not just come to them or be a part of knowledge automatically.


This is the same in any realm, especially as we think about the development of faith and Christianity in our children. They need to be taught and they need to see the results demonstrated in us.


In regards to God's blessing on Abraham, He said this: For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. ~ Genesis 18:19


May we also consider this, learn, and teach our children to keep the ways of the Lord.




We know that many are preparing for the bad weather that is forecast. We see from the Bible that preparation is a good thing, can bring blessing, and minimize or eliminate problems and difficulties.


We pray that everyone stays safe and uses good judgment.  We pray especially for those who have to work out in the weather and those on the road.


Remember, you can honor the Lord at home this morning if your church service is cancelled.




We see a disturbing pattern both from the Bible and human experience - man tends to look to the Lord when things are bad and tends to fall away from the Lord when things are good.


The blessing of the Lord should motivate and inspire us to serve and worship Him more, yet we can get complacent and take the blessings for granted. It is something we should keep in mind and check ourselves on from time to time.


May we be ones who do not fall into the pattern mentioned. When things do get harder or difficult, we of course should immediately go to God's throne of grace to receive mercy and grace in a time of need ~ Hebrews 4:16




Beautiful words by Charles Wesley - particularly as we consider Christmas


May "love divine" flow out of us to others especially during this season.


Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.


Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.


Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.


Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.




Every congregation has Christmas songs that they enjoy and ones that are special to them. We enjoy one by Don Moen and usually do it several times in December. It is titled: Emmanuel Has Come


You will likely enjoy the Don Moen version:






So many sermons, teachings and object lessons have come out of the Biblical accounts of the coming of Christ. We may touch on some of them before the 25th. We are reminded today of Christ coming as a servant.


Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: ~ Philippians 2:5-7


We rarely think about the fact that a servant has things of his own that need to be taken care of - especially if he or she has a family. A true servant puts others first - this is a great challenge for all of us. It was not the only mindset that Jesus had because He had other responsibilities. So balancing all of the "missions" was something He dealt with.


So also it is with us. We have responsibilities to lead and make decisions - with children/family, on the job, and in the community. We have to do that from a Christian standpoint (that should exhibit high standards) along with being a servant from the New Testament perspective.


Thus we recognize how much we need God's help in order to serve in the right way - whether we are giving the instructions or whether we are receiving them. When we do each in a Christ-like way, we enhance our testimony and witness greatly.




Like the wise men, we want God to know how much we appreciate Him sending Jesus and we declare His birth is worth celebrating. The wise men give us an example of how to respond to the birth of Jesus:








That is the way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.




In keeping with our musical theme, we share this country-flavored song: It Still Takes A Wise Man To Pray






Going to church, hearing the Word of God, rejoicing in praise, and fellowship with people of like precious faith are ways we can keep Christ in Christmas. We know this time of year can get hectic, but we also know that the birth of Jesus is worth celebrating.


As we desire to keep Jesus first, may we enjoy all the other aspects of our celebration and be a blessing to others.




The other day we looked at Christ coming as a servant. Today we look at Him coming as a manifestation of God's love.


Anyone familiar with the New Testament knows that great emphasis is placed on love:


The greatest commandment ~ Matthew 22:35-40

God so loved the world ~ John 3:16

Faith works by love ~ Galatians 5:6

We demonstrate our discipleship ~ John 13:35

We show it in our daily walk ~ Ephesians 5:2


The list can go on. We should also realize that this love is more than the emotional and erratic ideas of love that we see in this world. This is the love of God that is put into our hearts by the Holy Ghost ~ Romans 5:5


This love rejoices in the truth and gives us the grace to share it because it is the knowledge of the truth that will set us free ~ John 8:31-32


It is especially critical in this day and time that Christians maintain their love walk. It can be a challenge in this world that is so confrontational, in your face, and increasingly hostile toward the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many know the attack against "Christmas" that we see this time of year, and we intend to speak about that tomorrow.


We want to share the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) in a way that is effective in the lives of people - not because we are angry and upset with people. This will take prayer and a desire to hear from God on a daily basis especially as we deal with a world that is often antagonistic toward the things of God.


Lord help us to speak the truth each day - to share Your Word in a way that will be fruitful for the kingdom of God and in the lives of the hearers. May we be sensitive to the voice of your Spirit and be skillful in the Word of righteousness. Help us to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh. As we lift up Jesus before others, we pray that You will draw them to Yourself. We are joyful in the privilege we have to present the gospel of Your kingdom. In Jesus' Name we make our prayer, Amen.




Many have commented on and the news has reported this year's "war on Christmas". From a Biblical standpoint, we would classify it as a battle (one of many). Christianity faces attacks (and battles if you will) 365 days of the year. Many verses of scripture comment on and explain the warfare we are in.


Granted, at Christmas, it is especially noticeable. Christmas is a national holiday with a lot of public exposure. Thus the attacks seem more public and intense.


If there is a genuine war on Christmas, we declare that Jesus has already won it. He came and Christmas has been declared. The antagonism today is basically against the promoting of Christmas, the displays, what students in school can do, saying merry Christmas, and making Christmas about Jesus. There are not too many shots taken at department store sales and discounts - they seem to be fine. Making money from the holiday and getting time off from work has great public support.


For Christians, Christmas is a real opportunity to shine, to be salt, light and loving at the same time. Stores and merchants have no problem being public about what they offer, others have no problem being public with their criticism, and we should have no problem being public with "Jesus is the reason for the season".




Joy to the World is a favorite Christmas song. When you think of the title, what picture or images come to mind? Would the mental picture change if the title was: Joy to Your World, or Joy to My World.


Our point is to personalize the birth and coming of Christ. So often our picture is far way or so world-wide that we forget it should have a personal impact on us.


So we proclaim: Joy to your world - the Lord has come into it! We further rejoice in saying: Joy to my world - the Lord is welcome in it!




In the natural we understand just how important strength is. When we are not able to function physically, very little gets done and quality of life can go down quickly.


Also important, if not more so, is strength on the inside. When we are emotionally drained, when fear is coming at us, and when we cannot find any inner drive; we know that little is accomplished or progress made.


Keeping up our strength in all areas is critical and worth the effort. A quick search of the words "strong" and "strength" in the New Testament will show the importance God places on it in our lives.


One very familiar passage is from Ephesians 6 that admonishes us to be "strong in the Lord" because of the fiery darts of the wicked one.


May God help us all to be diligent in this area.




The other day we looked at personalizing the coming of Christ with words such as "Joy to your world", or "Joy to my world". Today we look at the words of the angel to the shepherds:


"For unto you is born this day ..."  This is something we should personalize. If you had been one of those shepherds, the word would have been to you. We have a tendency to look at and read the story as if, "that was just for them over there, back then."


John 3:16 tells us otherwise. So like the shepherds we can rejoice in that unto me, or for my benefit, Jesus came some 2,000 years ago. We will continually reap the benefits of His coming from now through eternity.




From the message of the angels, we see God has good will toward men. We see that in the life of Jesus as well. On the opposite side we see the devil has no good will toward men at all. This simple truth reminds us to take our stand with God each day.


As we often say - though we may not be able to answer every question, we know whose side to take every time.




Consider the circumstances surrounding the time of the birth of Jesus:


They were dealing with taxes then - just like today.


There was mass murder - Herod killing baby boys 2 years old and younger.


It is an interesting comparison to ponder. Our point is that everything was far from perfect when this intervention from God came. We see the same in the ministry of Jesus. He demonstrated the awesome power of God - yet He did not fix everything in the natural to everyone's satisfaction.


This takes some time digest. Each of us can believe God and take Him at His word that He will bless us, take care of us, and comfort us when necessary - probably not to everyone's satisfaction.


This is the reality we deal with in this fallen world. This should not detract from the joy of our salvation and our pursuit of the kingdom of God and His righteousness. But we also remember that Jesus said in this world we would have tribulation.


In the midst of it all we are grateful for His presence and for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost ~ Romans 14:17




As yesterday would be considered "Christmas Sunday", we did a number of songs with that theme. One was the standard "O Come All Ye Faithful".


We noted the line that says the faithful should come "joyful and triumphant". We come that way because we have passed from death unto life through Jesus.


We know that some, even the faithful, are going through the struggles and difficulties of life during this time. We do not make light of this or ignore it. But our hope and faith are not in the difficulties, but it is in Jesus.


We pray especially for those who need a special measure of grace this Christmas - that God would restore the joy of their salvation and be very present in any hour of trouble.


If there is someone lonely or depressed, may we be an instrument that can help bring them out of it, be a help and lift a burden. This would be one way to truly give this Christmas.




As we consider today as Christmas eve, we remember the Biblical account regarding no room at the inn. The first year of Open Door Church, we had a Christmas cantata that featured a song (words below) entitled: No Room


No room, no room for Him
No room to let Him in
No room for Jesus
In the world He made, no room
No room for the King of kings
Room for others and for other things
No rooms for Jesus
In the world He made -  no room

No room, no room for Him
No room to let Him in
No room for Jesus
In the heart He made, just for Him
No room for the King of kings
Room for others and for other things
No room for Jesus
In the heart he made - no room



Room for houses lands and pleasures
Room for things that pass away
But for the One who reigns forever
There's no room today


Such a song reminds us to give Jesus the best room we have - indeed the whole house (our lives). May we reflect on this as we prepare for tomorrow. 




We pray that you are blessed this Christmas to know personally the Lord Jesus Christ who was born unto you so many years ago. He not only was born unto us, but lived, died and rose again for us.


Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. ~ Romans 4:25


May we keep Jesus as the center of our Christmas.




Yesterday we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Consider for a moment the birth of babies in the natural: It is a process often with difficulties and stress. There is a lot of preparation made. When the birth comes there is rejoicing - a lot of oooh's and aaah's as people peer down upon the newborn.


Further, we know that the birth is just the beginning. We pray the child will have a future of joy, blessing and accomplishment.


For Jesus as well, the birth was the beginning of His mission.


Likewise we should recognize that God has us here on a mission. There are a lot of general and foundational things that all Christians should be doing. Yet we see from scripture that there are individual gifts and callings of God.


In Hebrews 3:1 we read: Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,...


Let us seriously and with purpose seek out the calling that God has for each of us. May God help us to fulfill this "heavenly calling" - it will be a blessing to our friends and loved ones as well as to ourselves.




As we know the new year is approaching, many think about resolutions. Sometimes we assess the year that is ending and see what needs changing from that perspective. Sometimes we just want to look ahead and fulfill a dream.


Most of the time the things we are looking toward revolve around our lives/family and thus they are important. They are important enough to plan ahead and give good thought to - not just doing something on a whim.


May the things we have planned and desire to change both have God's wisdom and blessing. It would be a happy new year indeed if we would walk in the good things God has planned for us. ~ Jeremiah 29:11 




As we approach the new year, words like "steadfast" and "consistency" come up when we consider resolutions for 2014.


When you think about it, we often apply these words more to things than people. We really want the products we buy to be steadfast and consistent. That would be a great attribute for all the things we use and deal with on a daily basis. We want things we can count on.


In our lives we know the Biblical admonitions to stay true and steadfast in our faith and daily living. What we need to learn is to stay consistent when we constantly have to flow with changing situations.


We pray God show us how to do that on a daily basis. We are constantly faced with new situations, new technology, different ways of thinking, and circumstances we may have never seen before. So it is crucial that we be able to apply the Biblical principles that God has forever settled to our lives as we encounter so much change and variation.


The ability to do this would greatly enhance both the foundation and productivity of our lives.




Yesterday we mentioned the word "steadfast". We remember the verse that says: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,...~ I Corinthians 15:58


This does not mean that we should be inflexible and rigid. We are often called to deal with change and things that are new. But as the context of the verse indicates, we should be steadfast and unmovable in the work of the Lord. This is what we are about.


The ways of doing it and the tools we use will likely change - for the better we pray. The verse ends by saying: forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.




Today and tomorrow we will talk about New Year's resolutions. This verse would be the basis for a good one.


Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. ~ Psalm 19:14


It is interesting that this verse deals with the mouth and the heart - two very important areas of life. Note what it would take to deal with these two things - knowledge of the Word of God and a desire to improve in these areas. You do not have to have money, material goods, social standing, or any such thing in order to put this verse into practice.


We note that no one else can do it for us - it is up to each one individually. May God help to seriously consider this verse as a good resolution and goal for 2014.




As we conclude the year we share the gist of our message from this past Sunday. We looked at these words from Paul:


And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. ~ Acts 20:22-24


We noted that Paul was proceeding not knowing everything that was coming. There were some things he did know, but other things would be just speculation. But that did not deter or "move" him as he said. He would preach the gospel and serve the Lord in any way he could.


So we also, as we look forward to 2014, realize there is a lot we do not know. Some general things we note from scripture about the last days and what we have seen recently can lead us to intelligently speculate on what is ahead. But specifically we likely have few details. As each individual or family looks forward - what will happen in 2014?


Regardless of what comes, like Paul we should be able to say that it will not move us - whether it is good or bad. We will still serve the Lord, stand with Him, and desire to  fulfill the calling He has for us with joy. This would be a great testimony to have in the midst of all circumstances - a great resolution to remember each day. We could say it this way: If we woke up one morning and something happened that we were either very rich or bankrupt, would it not move us from serving the Lord and fulfilling His will in our lives?


We pray God's blessing upon each one and each family as we enter into 2014. We pray the Lord deliver you from every evil work, fill your life with joy, and meet every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. We pray for His strength and resolve during the hard times and for daily bread to sustain us. We thank God for victories and that He will be with us until we finish our course in this life. Then may we, through Jesus Christ, be counted worthy to enter in to His presence forever - Amen!





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