“Is There Any Room”

Is there room

Luke 2:7 “And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

In Luke chapter 2 we see the events leading up to the birth of Christ, his actual birth, and the events that would take place immediately following His birth. In the midst of all that was happening we have verse 7 which brings up a very important question to ask ourselves. We will take a look at that question shortly.

I, like many of you, grew up in a wonderful home where Christmas was the best time of year. My family was not anywhere close to being considered “wealthy” as far as material things go such as money, fame, or social status. However, I will say that we were rich in love and care for one another. I grew up with great parents and a sister that is now one of my best friends in this world.

My parents taught us about Jesus from the time we were young; however, I must confess, for 18 years of my life Christmas was about other things to me. I knew that Christmas was the time of year that we celebrated the birth of Christ, but for me it was a thing done more out of tradition, and not because I had a relationship with Him. Growing up I was more concerned about the toys I was getting than about what Jesus had to do with Christmas. As I got older that affection for toys changed to affection for electronics, clothes, and money. Even typing this out makes me feel the selfishness that was in my life. The fact is, that’s just what it was – a selfishness and a love for the things I wanted. Please know, this is no reflection of anything my parents taught us, because my parents are some of the most generous people I know. They are always more concerned about the betterment of others, even over themselves, and for that I am grateful.

The truth of the matter is for 18 years there was really no room for Christ in my Christmas. I am ashamed to say, but it is necessary that I be honest with you. In August of 1995 at the age of 19, I gave my heart, my life, and my all to Jesus. He became Lord of my life, and at age 19 Christmas changed for me. It was the first year that Christ had room in my Christmas. Let me also say, it was at this point that Christmas took on a whole new meaning for me. No more was I so concerned about what I was getting and consumed with the material things of Christmas. It was a REAL time of rejoicing for me as I thought about the birth of the One who died for me that I might have real life.

We see in Luke 2:7 that when Mary gave birth to Jesus she wrapped Him in a cloth, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. Obviously, we cannot miss the miracle of a virgin giving birth to the Savior of the world. It’s a marvelous miracle that only God Himself can do. We cannot miss the fact that the Savior came to this world in the form of a little baby which would be a most unlikely way for God to come. Most people would not look for God Himself to come like this, but rather in a more exalted form. However, Jesus came in His humanity, His helplessness, and His humility in the form of a poverty-stricken baby.

There was simply no room for this baby in the inn which would be considered a more proper place for an infant, and especially God Himself. Instead, He was left to be put in a manger which would be more along the lines of a trough. Thinking about this brings up the question that I mentioned earlier. Is there any room in your Christmas for Christ? I shared with you that for many years of my life there was not. I did not know what I was missing by not giving room in my life to Christ. I was like the inn-keeper in the gospels. I simply would not open the door of my heart and let the Son of God in. There was no room. The space was taken up with so many other things, people, and desires.

I would like those of you who read this to know that it is important to ask yourself the question, “Is there room in your Christmas for Christ?”. It is Christmas Eve today, and I can think of no better way to spend Christmas by opening up yourself the Jesus today, inviting Him in, and opening the door to let Him into your heart right now. He is the author of Christmas! I can assure you that Jesus is better than ANY OTHER gift you could ever receive. I hope you have a very blessed Christmas this year. If you haven’t done so yet, will you open the door and let Jesus in today?

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

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“The Blessing of His Knowing”

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Jeremiah 1:5 ““Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Last Tuesday morning at 12:07 A.M.  my wonderful wife ( Rachel ) gave birth to our third child Kendall Grace Morris. She weighed 6lbs 8 oz, and stretched out to be 18-3/4” long. She is a wonderful gift from God. In fact, we now have three wonderful gifts from the Lord in each of our children.

I can remember the day of shock early this year when we found out we were pregnant with little Kendall. Yes, I said shock because it has been nine years since we had our last child. After the initial shock was over excitement began to settle in as we called our parents and loved ones to share the good news.

Somewhere along the line the excitement settled down. I really don’t know a day, time, or even month but the emotions of what was happening settled down. Those emotions and excitement began to rise up again once we entered the last month of pregnancy. However, I do remember the feeling of being a little distant about this pregnancy throughout the past nine months. I don’t know if it had to with being much older than we were when we started having children or what. Maybe it was the realization that I was about to be staying up all night and changing diapers again. Either way, that’s what was going on.

That flat-lined emotion changed for me the night Kendall was born. I remember as she was getting ready to be born there were some complications with her oxygen level and blood pressure. The doctor looked at me and the nurse and said these words, “We have got to get this baby out NOW!”. At that moment in time, it was as if my heart stopped beating. The realization of little Kendall’s life became more real to me at that moment then it had been through the last nine months. Emotion, though I held it in for the sake of my wife, was trying with all it’s might to burst out in tears of prayer at that time. I remember praying silently to God, “Please dear God, let my baby live. I don’t know how I can live without her.” . That was my heart’s cry during those moments. The next day was more of an emotional roller-coaster as her o2 level and blood sugar levels went up and down.

I am so thankful to God, that today I can say little Kendall is doing great. In fact, today she goes for her first checkup at her doctor’s office. Praise be to God for all of this.

I was reminded of the words of Jeremiah in verse 5 which said, “Before you were in the womb I knew you…”. I stand in awe in the fact that none of this took God by surprise. He knew the ups, downs, and even flat spots of my emotions throughout this pregnancy. God knew what I would experience in the despair of my heart when things were not looking good for my baby girl. God knew! However, He knew all of this before He even formed her in the womb. These words had to be of comfort to Jeremiah when he heard the word of the Lord spoken to him about his own self. These words brought comfort to me as I know God knew all of this before it came to be.

Thanks be to God for the gift of life, the gift of salvation, and the blessing of children. My Father in Heaven has taught me so much about Himself through the lives of my children, and for that, I am so thankful!

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

“The Armpit of Anxiety”

Armpit of anxiety

1 Peter 5:7    “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. “

              Have you ever struggled with anxiety? Wow! You’re probably thinking to yourself, “I can’t believe he even asked that question.”. Of course, everyone has dealt with anxiety at some point or another. Anxiety has been defined by some as, “an unpleasant state of inner turmoil”. Does that sound familiar?

             The fact is that most people in today’s society unfortunately are battling with anxiety every day in some form or another. It’s likely that this time of year with Thanksgiving and Christmas all around us you have experienced some anxiety lately.  Recently I have counseled with people who have lost loved ones, others have loved one’s about to pass away, some are going through divorce, others are dealing with financial difficulties, and so much more. We are people, and people have problems.

             I know I have struggled with anxiety at different times and in many ways. There have been times where there was too much month left at the end of the money. Other times I have felt like I was not pulling my weight at work, at church, or in ministry. Many times I feel the pull of so many directions with being husband, father, minister, counselor, brother, employee etc. I love every one of these parts and positions of my life, but in my humanity there are times it gets the best of me. I believe we all experience this in our different roles and positions which we have in this life.

             Sometimes the best thing we can do is stop, and realize that God is God, and we are His creation. Peter was talking in chapter 5 verse 7 to believers who had been scattered into exile from their homeland. These were believers who had been suffering at the hand of persecution, bad circumstances, and enveloped in anxiety because of many of the things going on around them. Peter was telling these Christians two very important things that Christians should always keep in mind.

First, cast your anxiety on Him! Carrying around your anxiety is like trying to carry a baby elephant on your back. The problem is the elephant does not stay a baby. As you carry the baby elephant on your back he will continue to grow. The baby does not stay a baby. Your one care of anxiety will not just stay as one thing you are anxious about. It will grow just like the elephant. At some point you will be bogged down, and the load will be too heavy for you to carry at all. Do as Peter told these Christians. Cast your anxiety upon God. The Lord knows it is there in your life, in your heart, and on your mind. Don’t hold on to it. Go to God in prayer and hand it over to Him. He instructs us to.

Second, know that God cares for you!This may be the second part of the verse, but it’s the part that shows us we can actually do the first part which is to cast our anxiety upon the One who cares for us. God does care for you! I am not meaning for this to sound as some feel-good type psychology that may be tattered over the television screens today, but the Bible clearly states from Genesis to Revelation, verse after verse, that God cares for His creation. If you are His child, you can be assured that He is for you. God does not want Christians to walk around cumbered with anxiety on a daily basis. He wants His children to live in the peace that He provides through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Peter was telling these Christians to humble themselves to God, cast their cares upon God, and at the proper time He would exalt them. God’s plan would be to deliver them from their present state of anxiety. Casting their anxiety upon Him would be their acknowledgment of knowing that God could handle anything in their lives. It would be the living-out of their trust in Him as their Holy God.

Now, your anxiety today may not be based on persecution and being scattered abroad in exile. However, the principle of the Scripture is there. Don’t live today burdened down with the anxiety of this world. Live today in the peace that only comes through Jehovah God. His peace is refreshing, calming and comforting unlike anything this world has to offer.

 Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan