Daily Word Archives

What Open Door posts on Facebook - December 2015




It seems that we are officially in holiday mode. Many people know that the word "holiday" is derived from "Holy Day". In the Bible, the Hebrews had essentially 7 feasts that are quite interesting. We will not study them here but we list them to refresh our memories:



Feast of Unleavened Bread

Feast of First Fruits


Feast of Trumpets

Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement

Feasts of Tabernacles


All of these feasts are associated with Holy Days or Holy Events in some way. Extensive studies have been done regarding these feasts, how they relate to Christ Jesus, etc. But that is not our purpose here.


It is just interesting that God would put such emphasis on events and remembering them - essentially creating what we would call holidays.


Now if there ever was a religious people, it was the Jews. They had their tabernacle, the temple, the law, the sacrifices, all of the ordinances ... Yet God had them observe and participate in these "days" to remind them of their heritage, of the meanings of the things they believed, of their relationship with Him, to teach the next generation, etc. It was a constant reminder of who they were and what they were to be about.


We could relate this to these United States: We have more churches and services than you can count, Christian TV, Christian Radio, web pages, seminars, retreats, CD's, DVD's, week-long meetings, evangelistic campaigns, more music than we could possible categorize, blogs, and yes Facebook! In addition we have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and what we call Easter (the celebration of Jesus' resurrection) that has the potential of impacting the whole nation for the cause of Christianity - reminding us of what we as Christians should be about.


For the Jews, the meanings behind the feasts were far-reaching and represented God's covenant with them and all He desired for them. But they could just "brush that off" and use it as a time to party and revel. We too can look into, rejoice in, participate in, take very seriously, grow in, thank God for, and yes enjoy these special times (holidays) that remind us of God's love and what He has done for us in Jesus Christ - or we can just party and revel. 


We should make the most of these celebrations that God has blessed us to have and be mindful to keep the true meaning before us always. Thus we have many ways to incorporate the things of God into our daily lives.




We pray earnestly for the family of Nichole Workman. Dear Father please pour out your love, compassion and mercy upon each one. God of all comfort we ask You to wrap Your arms around them through all of their tears. May Your laborers reach out to them and help in some way.


We share two pictures of Nichole: one with some others at the church who brought gift bags to children at Martha Jefferson Hospital. The other is a favorite recent photo.





Many of us are already preparing for Christmas - some even have been at it for weeks. We know that we prepare for things that are important to us. Sometimes we do things "off the cuff" so to speak - but not the important things.


There can be so many aspects to our Christmas celebrations: family, friends, food, presents, Christmas cards, decorations, lights, a tree, activities, church services, Christmas programs - things like the Bethlehem walk in our area, Nativity & manger scenes. music and caroling - usually choral groups and musicians start working on music in September and October.


As Christians we know that it is not just about December 25th. It is the entire season of the year when we want to honor Jesus and commemorate His birth. We want to "spruce things up". We were blessed last night to walk into a decorated sanctuary with flowers, lights, a tree, etc. - things that bring a sense of pleasure and joy on the inside because it is meant to bring honor and praise to our Lord. We are thankful to those who work hard to keep our church up and going and "spruce it up".


We desire that the outside decorations just be a reflection of our hearts and lives that would be a praise unto our Lord as well. That should be our desire everyday, but the Christmas season gives us the opportunity to make things look a little nicer to honor Jesus. We encourage everyone to make the most of the Christmas season in honor of Him.




Often the subject of motivation comes up in life. The dictionary defines motivation as: the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. In general we know what motivation is and we certainly know what a lack of motivation looks like ~ we can pick that out very quickly.


We know that motivation often is associated with our feelings or desires. We can say in some ways that motivation is imposed upon us: We go to work or we will go bankrupt ~ this is often a quite effective motivator. However, if we constantly derive little or no satisfaction with what we are doing, we will often seek a change.


While the term "motivation" itself is not in the Bible, we have verses such as:


"walk in love..." ~ Ephesians 5:2


"ye have an unction from the Holy One ..." ~ I John 2:20


"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works... " ~ Matthew 5:16


"For we are labourers together with God ..." - I Corinthians 3:9


"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works ..." ~ Ephesians 2:10


The list will get long with verses that tell us we have a lot of work to do and how to do it. Christianity is the blueprint for the greatest work ethic imaginable. As Christians we should endeavor the be the best at our jobs, the people that demonstrate the fruit of the spirit, the kind of people the company cannot do without - this is practical demonstration of Christ in us.


This is not always easy of course with the world we live in today. But this alone ought to be good motivation for us to go out and make a difference in this world. We have been empowered to make an impact.


We pray each day that God show us how to do this.




When we think of Charles Dickens we usually think of "A Christmas Carol" - especially this time of year. But we also remember another famous line of his - It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.


Certainly this can be said about this year in regards to recent events. Many have said it can apply almost always in this present world. We noted yesterday in our service that Jesus came to earth during a troubled time. In the difficult times we seem to recognize that we need Him the most. God sent Jesus right into the midst of trouble.


Even in the times of trouble we have the opportunity to lift up praise to God. We see it surrounding the Christmas story and birth of Jesus.


When Elizabeth heard the words of Mary:


And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. ~ Luke 1:41-42


Mary's response:


And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. ~ Luke 1:46-47


Zacharias gave praise after his months of silence:


And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, ~ Luke 1:67-68


God sent the angels not only with a message but also with praise:


And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. ~ Luke 2:13-14


Regarding the shepherds:


And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. ~ Luke 2:20


The man Simeon who was told by God that he would see the Messiah:


Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, ~ Luke 2:28-30


And Anna who had been faithful to the Lord for years:


And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. ~ Luke 2:38


This Christmas, though me may be dealing with troubles and difficulties, may we also lift up praise and thanksgiving to and for the One who has no problem showing up right in the midst of them. As one of our hymns says:


He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found.


Thank you Lord Jesus for coming into our circumstances this Christmas just like you did so many years ago.




We did this song on Sunday and we thought you might like to hear where it came from:






For God so loved the world that He gave ...


This verse describes the true meaning of Christmas and the coming of Jesus. Thus we can consider: What can I give today?


It does not have to be a "thing" or "tangible object" all the time. But if we do it with the right motive, blessings can abound..


Lord, show us what we can give today.




During the first week of December one of our topics involved what we do in preparation for Christmas. Much of it involves decorations and other things particularly meant to be seen. You have probably seen video and news casts that show houses lit up like airports and flash to the beat of a particular song. All of this is just part of the fun and festivities.


We also need to remember that not everything may work out or continue to function perfectly - why can't we get tree lights that will last more than a few days, I just cannot find the perfect gift, some of the folks cannot make it home for Christmas, I just burned half of the Christmas dinner, someone in the family has to work Christmas Day, etc. We do not make light of any of these scenarios as we know Christmas is special to many of us. It is often the one time of year when families can get together.


But we should remember that so much of it is the external. We know the true meaning is Jesus. We remember that people are more important than things. When things go wrong we do get frustrated but we do not want to let it ruin our Christmas.


Lord help me keep the right focus, to keep my joy when something tries to steal it, and keep my heart right no matter what. I remember that the coming of Jesus was announced as " tidings of great joy which will be to all people". May others see that joy in me this Christmas.




One of the reasons we rejoice to assemble ourselves together this morning:


Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: ~ Colossians 1:12-14




Yesterday we sang several traditional Christmas hymns. Many of us learned them as children in church and in Christmas plays. They proclaim the coming of Christ and encourage us to praise and give thanks.


We know that a lot of our Christmas celebration involves the external - from the decorations to all the activities. Each of us decides our level of involvement in these areas.


But as Christians we should certainly believe that the coming of Christ is worth celebrating and putting some time in to acknowledge, praise, worship, and give in honor of the gift of God's Son.


We are thankful not just for His coming in the manger, but coming into our hearts to bring us a new life and eternity with Him. O come let us adore Him!




Wise Men Still Seek Him


We are all just travelers on this journey called life;
Some walk in darkness, while others follow a light.
We carry our treasures so close to our heart;
Some we let go of while others never part.
And somewhere on this journey we encounter a King
That will change us forever, to Him our treasures bring.

            And wise men still seek Him, they follow a star
            That leads them to Jesus as travelers a far.
            Men of great nations and the poor of the earth
            All join together to proclaim Christ's birth.

Sometimes we find ourselves with no room at the inn
Filled with hopes and dreams, none of them with Him.
Walk along a winding road, and can't find our way;
Look to the Heavens a star as bright as day.
And somehow He finds Himself in the hardest of hearts,
Whispers I love you, never more to part.

            Star of Bethlehem shine tonight
            And lead us and guide us to His perfect light.
            Oh come Lord Jesus, we ask Thee to stay
            And renew our spirit on this Christmas day.

We are all just travelers on this journey called life;
Been through the darkness, and now we see the light.
We carry a treasure more precious than gold,
A gift of redemption, His grace we now hold.
And someday we'll find ourselves at the foot of the King
With all of God's angels, His praises we'll sing.




Are you a person who develops a plan? Most people who speak about success say that a plan is an absolute necessity. As we consider this time year with Christmas and the start of the new year, do we have a plan? Sometimes we get so frazzled that we might say the basic plan is to "get through it". There are certainly situations where this description may be the best we have, but we know that the important aspects of life require much more.


In the Bible we do no see the word "plan" but we do see "plant" and its variations a number of times. We know that there is often a lot of planning to our planting. This play on words should help us see the benefits of a good plan.


We often hear the phrase "plan of salvation". If you are a Bible student, you know the detail and precision in all God shows us from Genesis to Revelation regarding His thoughts (Jeremiah 29:11) and all He has prepared for those who are His (I Corinthians 2:9). There is nothing haphazard or given to chance regarding God's preparations.


Perhaps another way of looking at it is when we consider verses in Proverbs that talk about our steps being "ordered of the Lord" - this again is not random or by chance.


We can say in general that a good plan is part of a good foundation. As many of us are looking at 2016 and a good plan seems lacking in so many areas of our society, may we be those who are seeking God for His plan and instructions for each of us.




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.




So many sermons, teachings and object lessons have come out of the Biblical accounts of the coming of Christ. 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.




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!




Yesterday was Christmas Sunday for us and we rejoiced and gave thanks for the coming of Jesus into the world and into our hearts. His coming impacted everything and continued God's plan for the restoration of that which fell under the curse when man sinned.


His coming was not just for mankind yet is was for man. We remember the verses: Unto us a child is born, Unto us a Son is given, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.


The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. ~ Isaiah 9:2


The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. ~ Matthew 4:16


We remember the words in Genesis 1: Let there be light


In the stable in Bethlehem God declared: Let there be light


In our hearts God declares: Let there be light.


We are so grateful that the light of the glorious gospel has shined in our hearts.




Lord as I come to prayer today I will do my best to intercede with the knowledge that I have. But I need You to give me revelation regarding needs that I do not know.


Heavenly Father, You know who and what needs prayer. Guide my thoughts, words and intercessions to bring about the exceeding greatness of Your power to usward who believe ~ Ephesians 1:19


Thank you for utterance regarding:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; ~ Ephesians 6:10


In these days may we experience awesome and power-filled times of prayer.




Christmas should certainly be a special time for Christians. It is the day we recognize the coming of Jesus to the earth. We also spend a good part of December dressing things up, decorating, cooking, and sharing love and kindness with others.


Because it is special, it would be nice to do something special for Jesus - determine to do something in honor to Him. This would be a great way to demonstrate our love for Him and it can be a good testimony to the real meaning of Christmas.


We pray God show us the best we can honor Christ this Christmas.




We are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate and recognize the coming of Jesus to the earth. His coming is more important than proving the exact day that it happened.


For Christians who do not like the Christmas celebrations, we wonder if you do anything to celebrate or recognize His coming. Is it important to you at all?


We grant that secular celebrations often go too far in the wrong way and show little if any respect for Christ. But that should not deter us in the least from showing Jesus we are forever thankful for His coming.


It is interesting that God did announce it on the day of His arrival. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." ~ Luke 2:11. Heaven certainly honored the day so should we do any less?


We honor you Lord Jesus in celebration of Your birth into this world.




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.




There are so many ways we can look at God's plan of redemption through Jesus coming to the earth as a man. We particularly note this one today in light of celebrating His birth:


Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. ~ Hebrews 2:14-15


This is just one example of Jesus coming to the earth for our benefit.




There are many things we can learn from a study of the life of David. He is called a man after God's own heart ~ Acts 13:22.


One thing we want to focus on today is that David loved and sought the Lord from an early age. When the world would view him as a nobody, someone just to watch sheep; he was developing a Godly foundation. Note he did not wait to become king, become esteemed by the world, or become a part of the rich and famous to seek God and give Him praise. God was God regardless of the circumstances he happened to be in.


This is a great lesson for us. Regardless of the situations we deal with, God is still God, and we learn from the scripture what that means - all He is to us and has for us.


We recognize further that David was not perfect - he messed up big time. But the mess up is not His legacy. His legacy is one of giving his life to the Lord and what God was able to do through him. This certainly should give us hope as we know we can miss it and need to get back on track with our heavenly Father. We see this in David as well - he was quick to repent and get back on track.


May we always consider our relationship and fellowship with God as our first priority and not let anything damage it. We know the attacks come in our lives but we should not let them shake what we have in Christ Jesus. God help us to remain steadfast with You and abide under the shadow of the Almighty ~ Psalm 91:1


Whether our circumstances are good or bad, may we always run to God and not from Him.




In considering the coming new year, how resolute will we be with our resolutions? The term "resolute" is defined as: admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.


It usually has a positive connotation. Of course on the negative side we could say "hard-headed" or "stiff-necked". We do not want to be that.


The term "resolute" also brings to mind the concept of "determination". All of these positive qualities remind us that we face obstacles in this life, and often we must fall back on our "stick-to-itness". Sometimes we have to continue in faith believing the good things we sow into our lives and into the lives of others will reap good results.


It is amazing how one of these terms we are talking about leads us to another. The final one we will mention today is "decision". Life has been described as one decision after another. A decision is necessary before anything can be done.


Because decision-making is so important, we should strive to be skillful at it. What a good prayer to pray as we begin the new year: Lord help me to be skillful in making right decisions.




Yesterday we talked about resolutions. Are you making any for the new year?. We know that many of them do not last long or we are not as diligent as we should be in carrying them out.


One reason might be that we do not give much thought or planning to our resolutions. Sometimes we just jump right in and try something, endeavor to solve a problem, etc. Our intentions may be good, but we usually need to address these areas on more than just a whim.


Usually these areas are things in our lives that have become habits that are detrimental or just time-wasters. If we are serious about making some changes, we should both pray and do some research so that we can deal with theses areas effectively.


There is just great satisfaction in achieving success and good results.




We have come to the end of another year. Have you ever heard a football coach tell his players: When the final whistle blows and you walk back to the locker room, leave the game on the field. That may be too simplistic but the coach is trying to remind the team that the game is over.


In regards to the year, we could say it like this: 2015 is over - let it end. For many the 2015 year was rough and they have noted that they are looking forward to the new year and putting this one behind them.


As much as possible, we encourage you to let 2015 end. We know that people will still deal with things that are ongoing from 2015 - but do not live in the past year. Move on into 2016. As Paul stated: "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 3:13-14.


We might say it this way: I do not have everything down pat, but I am pressing forward to the good things God has for me in Christ Jesus. Lord help me to tie up any loose ends that I can, so that I may be able to move forward unhindered.


May the Lord richly bless you as you enter the new year with Him.






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