7th Day of Christmas - Dec. 31st

“On the 7th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me 7 Swans-A-Swimming”

Romans 12:6-8
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

How many times have you said “I don’t know what my gift is?” or “I don’t have any gifts”? Seven gifts are listed in Romans; they are Prophecy, Ministry, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leading, and Mercy. When we look at these 7 gifts we may not know exactly which one we have been given, but through prayer and action we can find the answer. How will you know that teaching is not your gift, if you never try to teach? Maybe mercy is your calling, but you need to show mercy to others to find out? Can you minister to others? Do you have time to give? Are you a leader? Prophesize? Exhort?

We must look for ways to serve others on a daily basis and pray for God to reveal our gifts to us. The 7th Day of Christmas falls on New Year’s Eve. This year make a New Year’s Resolution to diligently seek out your gifts. Set a goal to spend each day in prayer about your gift and act on the opportunities God places in front of you. Begin exploring and using the 7 gifts listed in Romans. Give it your all, you may find that it is the very thing God has called you to do.

6th Day of Christmas - Dec. 30th

“On the 6th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me 6 Geese-A-Laying”

Genesis 1
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was[a] on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Six Geese-A-Laying represents the Six days of Creation. Look around you and marvel at His creation. As we go through life we must change our mindset from “me” to “His”. Everything is His, we own nothing: money, power, material things, our accomplishments and even our thoughts belong to God. Yet, we go through life forgetting who has given us what we have. We must always put Him first and acknowledge His ownership of all things, even ourselves for we were bought for a price. I owe Him everything, do you?

1 The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
2 For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters. Psalm 24:1-2

5th Day of Christmas - Dec. 29th

“On the 5th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me 5 Golden Rings”

Galatians 3: 19-25
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Moses recorded God’s instructions for the Hebrew/Jewish people in the first 5 books of the Bible; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
These 5 books are known as the Torah or Law. They explained how to live on a daily basis, religious instructions, and the laws they should live under. Jesus came to earth so that we all may be forgiven and no longer be condemned by the law. However, Jesus did not come to destroy the law. Jesus says:

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17 – 20

Jesus instructs us to obey the commandments and teach them to others. This can be difficult at times. Especially when you consider the fact that if you break just 1 commandment, you have broken them all. So, how do we obey the commandments and teach others? We can share the commandments with others, but if we do not obey them ourselves then we are no better than those who try to live according to the law without Jesus. We must make a conscious effort every minute of every day to live according to God’s Word and His commandments. Jesus does make it a little easier though, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus tells us what the two most important commandments are. If we strive to obey these two at all times we will keep the commandments and be living according to God’s word.

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37 – 40

4th Day of Christmas - Dec. 28th

"On the 4th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me 4 Calling Birds"

Galatians 1: 6 – 11
Only One Gospel
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Call to Apostleship
11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

4 books, but only 1 gospel. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all reveal who Jesus is. They are a testimony of his life, works, death, and resurrection. Saul was not able to read the “gospel” as we know it; the gospel was revealed to him by Jesus while on the road to Damascus. That meeting changed Saul’s life forever. Soon he would be preaching to the gentiles and would be known as Paul, an apostle of Jesus. Paul was called by God for a specific reason, to further the gospel.

Like Paul we have been called by God. Our lives changed once we heard the gospel and became a follower of Christ. No longer should we listen to “other gospels” or look at the world and listen to what it has to say. We should look to the Bible; by reading God’s word we can hear Jesus preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and learn what He has called us to do.

3rd Day of Christmas - December 27th

“On the 3rd Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to me 3 French Hens”

1 Corinthians 13
The Greatest Gift
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Faith, Hope, and Love.

It is only through our faith in Jesus Christ that we can hope for all of the blessings the Lord promises. It is because of His love for us that we are able to have faith and hope. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

We are given many paths to walk down in life, some easy, some hard. Regardless of the difficulty we must choose which way we will go. Faith and hope will get us through the most difficult times and at different points along the way it will be the only thing we can hold onto. We need to love Him as much as He loved us. How does one do this though? We must choose to do His will over our own. By walking with the Lord we can share His love to others and show how much we love Him.

2nd Day of Christmas – December 26th

“On the 2nd Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to me Two Turtle Doves”

John 1: 1 - 18
The Eternal Word
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John’s Witness: The True Light
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own,[c] and His own[d] did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Word Becomes Flesh
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.”
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End. The Old Testament tells of the coming Savior. The New Testament testifies that He has come, died and will come again. Together they reveal God’s plan for our salvation from the beginning.

In the Old Testament the Nazirite would sacrifice 2 turtledoves, one as a sin offering, and the other as an offering for atonement. The New Testament bears witness of the dove that has come to save us, Jesus. He has covered our sin with his blood and reconciled us with the Lord. Through his death we have been given a new life, what will we do with it?

1st Day of Christmas - Dec. 25th

On the 1st Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to me a Partridge in a Pear Tree”

Luke 2:6-20
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Glory in the Highest

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”[c]

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

It was time; Mary gave birth to a child and laid him in a manger. This baby was from a poor family, but the Lord had blessed them with the birth of a son. This was not just any birth though; this was the birth of Jesus, the King. His birth was so important that the heavenly hosts (angels) sang and praised God.

Over 2000 years ago the world was waiting for the Savior who was prophesied about. An angel announced the arrival of the Savior to a group of shepherds who were tending their sheep. The shepherds went to visit the baby lying in a manger and afterward they spread the word of the Savior’s birth and all that was said about him.
Just like the world was waiting for the Savior 2000+ years ago, we also wait for our Savior. His return is imminent, are we ready? It was through Jesus’ death that we have eternal life. The partridge in a pear tree feigns an injury to keep her young safe, Jesus was injured so we would not know death and only he can keep us safe.

Like the shepherds, we have heard the Good News. We celebrate his birth, and now it is our job to tell others all that has been said about him.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Oh by the way...

the schedule below was thrown out the window.

National Geography Bee

The boys participated in the National Geography Bee today. Although they did not "win", the experience was well worth it.