Little Christmas Tree (A post Christmas reflection)

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“Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year” as the song goes. However, it is also the busiest time of the year. But I would say, Christmas is still my favorite time of the year. After all it is the season and time to celebrate and remember that our Lord Jesus came to earth as a Baby. He left His heavenly kingdom to come to earth as a helpless baby so He could live with us and become like one of us. Just imagine – the love of God came down from heaven to earth to save us. Matthew 1:21 says, “she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

As already mentioned, sometimes Christmas can be the busiest time of the year. It’s only today, New Year’s Eve, that I took time to sit and write this reflection. Better late than never! 😊  Like some of you, we keep our ornaments up for a week or so after Christmas Day. In my native country of the Philippines, we continue to celebrate Christmas until Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day (usually the first Sunday in January). As we prepare to undecorate and pack up the ornaments, I would like to take time to reflect on the real meaning of this Christmas season. In a day or two, our Christmas decorations will be folded up and packed away.

Actually, this year, we decided to have a real/live tree as opposed to the small/artificial pre-lit Christmas tree that we have used for several years. Our real/live Christmas tree is a small fir tree, only about 4 feet tall. However, each of the ornaments hanging on the branches of our fir tree represents some fun memories and precious people. It is almost like going down “memory lane.”

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This ornament (photo above) is more than 50 years old! David made this little ornament when he was in kindergarten. His mom kept it all those years. It is a small bell, made from an egg carton.

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Others are little bamboo ornaments from David’s time in Saipan.

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Then, there is a little glass ball with the inscription “Saipan” on it. This is where David spent 18 years serving as a missionary engineer for FEBC Shortwave station.

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Another is a flat bell with the inscription “The Creels – 1978” from David’s parents, a gift from church members when they were serving in the United Methodist church.

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Then, there is an “Alaska” souvenir from David’s sister and her husband from their trip to Alaska in 2017.

 

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Next, there is an “I believe” star ornament from our Church Sunday school Christmas party from a couple of years ago, along with other ornaments from the previous 5 years of Christmas parties.

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Others are ornaments given by friends and neighbors through the years.

 

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One of my favorites is a “Bethlehem” olive wood nativity scene. We acquired this ornament at the annual “Homestead Hollow” event in Springville, Alabama a few months ago.

For me, this ornament represents the simplicity and true meaning of Christmas – Mary and Joseph with Baby Jesus on the night when the God came down from heaven to earth. From eternity, He stepped into humanity.

As we all fold and pack up our Christmas trees and other ornaments, may the true meaning and spirit of Christmas remain in our hearts. Let’s remember in this Christmas season, throughout the coming year of 2020, and always that Jesus is still the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) since “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the ends of the earth, (Travel Blog – Oct 12 – 27, 2019)

Reading: Acts 1: 1-8
Key verse: v.8

Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NKJV)

As Jesus fulfilled this word to His disciples,  it is still the same today with His followers:

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” It is the plan and desire of God that all followers of Jesus be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit so we can be witnesses for Him – with our family, friends, neighbors, and people of other places, countries, and to the ends of the earth.  God loves people of every nation, every country, language and ethnicity. God wants every person to know Him, His Word, His love and salvation through Jesus Christ.

In October 7-28, 2019, David and I had the privilege to travel to southeast Asia to visit and help our FEBC ministry fields. Photos from our travels to Thailand are in this post

Here are the highlights as we traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia:

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The growing and developing city of Phnom Penh

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FEBC’s Voice of Love FM 99.5

 

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David and the engineering team visited the Transmitter site of Voice of Love radio.
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Workers at the transmitter site.
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FEBC Staff chapel
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A ferry ride to cross the Mekong River
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Life on the Mekong River
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A visit to a silk factory
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The new Outside Broadcast (OB) equipment finally arrived after many days of waiting. Praise the Lord!
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Engineering team testing and working on the new OB equipment
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David & Mike testing the new OB equipment in the studio.
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Setting up the OB equipment to broadcast a live Christian concert via FM and Facebook live
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A thousand young people came to praise and worship Jesus in the concert.
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The Bible story from creation to Jesus’s birth was presented in the local language in their cultural context by the Bible Society.
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The cast of the Bible Story during the concert.  According to Franklin Graham, the country’s community of believers is growing, but approximately 98% of the 16 million people still need to hear the Gospel.

 

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A tuk tuk (taxi) ride to the FEBC office every morning.

We thank and praise the Lord for those who prayed with us during this trip. Thank you also for those who faithfully support us so we could serve the Lord and reach more souls for Jesus.

 

 

 

From the streets of Bangkok… (Travel Blog Oct 8-12,2019)

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Breakfast to go
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Vicki with a hotel staff, praying she will also know the One True God who loves her, Jesus Christ.
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Welcome to FEBC Thailand Office!
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FEBC Staff
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FEBC broadcasts the Gospel to 17 ethnic people in South East Asia
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David working with a broadcast mixer
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David working with FEBC tech staff.

 

God loves you!

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God loves you!

John 3:16-17 (NKJV)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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us

Romans 10:9 (NIV)If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the [remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.

Prayer to receive Jesus in your heart:

Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins.  I open my heart, may you come in and be the Lord of my life. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

If you pray the prayer above, you are now a child of God and forgiven because of Jesus Christ! What to do next?

  1. Read the Bible every day.
  2. Look for a good Bible believing Christian church.
  3. Pray to Jesus always.

 

God loves you!

God loves you!

John 3:16-17 (NKJV)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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us

Romans 10:9 (NIV)If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the [remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.

Prayer to receive Jesus in your heart:

Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins.  I open my heart, may you come in and be the Lord of my life. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

If you pray the prayer above, you are now a child of God and forgiven because of Jesus Christ! What to do next?

  1. Read the Bible every day.
  2. Look for a good Bible believing Christian church.
  3. Pray to Jesus always.

 Bible gateway.com

Study guide -Letter to the Philippians.

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The past few weeks, David started a Bible study on the Epistle of Philippians (New Testament) in our church on Wednesday evenings.

Here is the note for the introduction for the lesson: (Please see attachments for the study guides for each chapter in PDF).

Philippians

  1. Author: The Apostle Paul
  2. Setting: Written from a prison in Rome, around 60-62 A.D.
  3. Occasion: Paul was in prison in Rome… about ten years after he had founded the Church in Philippi, and about 3-4 years after he had last visited there. Apparently (4: 10), he had begun to wonder if they had forgotten him. Then Epaphroditus arrived from far away Philippi with an offering of money. Paul was deeply touched. Epaphroditus had nearly lost his life in the journey. Paul sent him to Philippi with this beautiful letter to express his thanks for their gift.
  4. Key Text: Philippians 3:10 “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
  5. Key Term: “Joy.” Forms of the word “joy” and the verb “rejoice” occur 16 times in this short letter. Philippians is the biblical book that most extensively defines and describes joy.
  6. One-Sentence Summary: Knowing Jesus Christ is much more joyful and important than anything else because God has exalted Jesus, the crucified Servant, with the name above every name.
  7. History:
    1. Named for Philip Il of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great).
    2. In Paul’s day, it was a Roman colony located at the southeast corner of Europe in “Macedonia” in Biblical days; now in the northeastern part of modern-day Greece.
    3. It was a strategic city on the Great Northern Highway between the East and the West, noted for its gold mines.
    4. This was Paul’s first European Church, founded around 51 A.D. in the early part of Paul’s second missionary journey. Lydia and the Jailer were among the first converts. Luke, the beloved Physician, was its pastor the first 6 years. It may have been Luke’s home, where he practiced medicine. Luke must have had a hand in the development of the unspotted character of the Church. As far as we know, the Philippian Church was one of the purest of New Testament Churches. For more on the background of the founding of the Church at Philippi, see Acts 16:6-40.
  8. Read Acts 16:6-40 and look at its location on the map.
  9. Look at the ancient Philippi archaeological book.

Sources:

  1. The Jeremiah Study Bible” by Dr. David Jeremiah
  2. “Halley’s Bible Handbook” by H.H. Halley
  3. “Ultimate Bible Guide: A Complete Walk-Through of All 66 Books of the Bible” from Holman Reference

Attached study guides for Philippians 1, 2, 3 & 4

Philippians Lesson 1

Philippians Lesson 2

Philippians Lesson 3

Philippians Lesson 4

 

 

 

Jesus does not judge you!

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Photo by Piotr Wilk-Unsplash

Reading: John 3:17-21

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” V.17 (NKJV)

// Romans 8:1, Luke 9:56, John 5:24; John 6:47

The people of Israel for many generations and for thousands of years were powerless to live godly lives in their own strength. God gave them the law through Moses so they could live a blessed life. But time and time again, the people of Israel failed to obey the commandments and the Word of God. God knew that His people were finite beings. Only an almighty and powerful God could save His people. So, Jesus was sent to the world, not to give His people the punishment they deserved, but to offer them mercy and forgiveness.

God the Father sent Jesus Christ to the world not to judge or condemn us, but to save us. God loves the world. God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ – not to punish us for our sins, but to save us and to redeem us from the bondage of sin. Jesus was willing to obey His heavenly Father because He and the Father loved us, the people of the world. They knew there is no way for us to save ourselves from sin.

Reflection:

When Jesus came to save the people of Israel from sin and eternal condemnation, He did it not only for them, but for every one of us in this world. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (v.17). The world includes all the people of the world – every person in every nation. That includes you and me. Jesus came not to judge us, but to save us, because God loves us.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I praise You and thank You for Your love. I thank You that You don’t judge me for my sin, but You have saved me. And because of Your tender mercy, I receive Your eternal life.

MVC/DC 09.13.2019, AL.