Christian Training Center InternationalPosts

“Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant.” ~God’s Angel

“Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant.” ~God’s Angel

Joseph had a lot to deal with. What to name the Son of God wasn’t one of them. God’s angel made that clear to him. His name is Jesus (Yehshuah), “God Saves”.

His bigger problem was what to do about his fiance who was pregnant but claimed the Holy Spirit got her pregnant. He trusted Mary but only up to a point. He was going to call the whole thing off. The angel solved that for him as well.

The Light Shines in the Darkness

The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot put it out.     (John 1:5 ISV)

Larry was busy hanging lights around our Christmas tree this weekend. We had purchased some new strings of lights to make our tree even brighter. So, to add to the lights already on the tree, he painstakingly placed them on a few bare spots.

The thousand shining lights staring back at us were gorgeous for about thirty seconds…and then…BOOM! Darkness. The circuit was obviously overloaded!  So, he rushed to Lowe’s and purchased a new circuit breaker and BOOM! All was bright and shiny again.  The beauty of the lights on the tree lit up the darkness of our living room. We loved it!

This Season, it is Better to Receive Than to Give

“and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’
– Acts 20:25

This anthem and the local espresso drink has been carrying Holiday sales for a very long time – and the American economy is very appreciative of the clever use of scripture to carry their revenue into the black before the year ends. But don’t let their clever marketing rob you of the true meaning and purpose of Christmas.

Christmas Must be Received First

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”
– Isaiah 9:6

“He came to His own, and His own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in His name, he gave the right to become Children of God.”
-John 1:11

This year, since before the Thanksgiving meal had even been served, Americans have been flooding the stores and cyberspace to find amazing deals for Christmas. Many well-intentioned Christians have not been excluded from this frenzy, hoping to give wonderful gifts to friends, loved-ones, and co-workers with the saying in mind “it is better to give than to receive.” But have we stopped – really stopped – in our tracks of running around in a spirit-of-the-season-holiday-frenzy to consider the coming of Christ and it’s implications?

There is no greater gift this Christmas than Christ the Son. All our giving flows from the reality that we have received the greatest of gifts – from God. Receiving Christ and His kingdom in our hearts and lives is immeasurably greater than any physical gift we will receive this holiday season. And yet many of us will be focusing on giving physical things.

Thinking back to the story of Mary and Martha, we recall that Martha had a great heart to give as well – she believed serving the Lord and the disciples was the most important thing to do in that moment. What could possibly be wrong with that?? Yet the scripture goes on to say Martha was distracted with much serving (Luke 10:40), asking Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me.” She had allowed herself to get caught up in a frenzy of giving without understanding the spiritual importance of what Mary was doing – receiving from Christ. The Lord answers her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

So what is the “good portion” we are to seek this Christmas? Could it possibly be better to receive this Christmas?

Three Ways to Receive Jesus This Christmas

Know Christ more intimately this year than ever before. Use those new gift cards and buy yourself a new Bible – a good bible, a great bible! Your greatest joys next year will be discovered with Christ, and in Christ.

Treasure Christ as supreme, set apart, and special above all other gifts. Stay up late or rise early and think upon the life of Jesus. Let your mind be filled with the narrative of His birth and listen to songs that declare His arrival.

Share Christ with your family and friends. A good gift is not only treasured but shared. Don’t limit your giving to that which is merely physical in nature, but in the name of Jesus freely give blessings, encouragements, prayers and supplications. Lay hands on the sick. Comfort the hurting. Share the blessing and good news of His kingdom come to earth.


Celebrating His life with you this Christmas and always,

Your friends at Christian Training Center International