Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The New Year 2012



By Richard Spangler

      I am sitting in my chair, trying to decide what to write about the New Year. This is a problem for none of us know what the year ahead will bring. Will 2012 bring the end of the world as the Mayan calendar proponents are proclaiming?  Will there be an economic collapse or boom? Will the upcoming elections mean change for the better or for the worst?    Then on a personal level: Will I be able to lose the weight I want to lose this year? Will I get my first book published? Will I move forward financially?  What will it be like being a grandfather?

   Just one of these questions can lead you down the road of fear and anxiety if you allow them.  Put them all together and you have a mountain of uncertainty.  Many people are in fear and panic because of these questions, including many Christians. They are asking, “Is there hope? Can I survive? What, if anything can I do?”

  Yes, there is hope in God! In the Bible God Promises,“Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent”(Psalm 91:9-10 Amp).

God also states in Psalm 91 that He will cover you; He will give angels charge over you, no pestilence (no disease), no sudden death, nor any evil shall befall you. And the list goes on.

The key to these promises is found in verse 14, “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness--trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]”(Psalm 91:14 AMP).

  As you determine with your mind to love God and set your heart to do so, you take the first turn of the key for the promises of God found in Psalm 91.

Many of you have taken that first turn of the key by accepting Jesus Christ into your heart. For those who have not, there is no better time than now. The next turn of the key is equally as important. It is getting to know God with a personal knowledge of His mercy, love and kindness. It is discovering Who God is, and not just by reading the Bible and praying.

This happens two ways. First, don’t just reading the Bible, but meditate on what you read. According to Webster’s Dictionary, Meditate is: to engage in contemplation or reflection: to focus one's thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over.

Secondly, it happens by making time for God, spending time with Him. Remember, God created man to spend time with Him. An example of this is in the Bible.

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every [wild] beast and living creature of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19 AMP).

God would create an animal, and then bring it to Adam to name. God was interested to see what name would be given. I imagine that was some discussion of the creature’s design and purpose between God and Adam. This took time.

 Also, in Genesis, “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you” (Genesis 3:8-9 AMP)?

This shows God coming to spend time with Adam and Eve. This was not unusual, Adam and Eve knew the sound of God walking and would go out to meet and spend time with God. This is what God wants, for us to know Him. This is why Jesus came to earth, so that a way would be open for man to be able to spend time with God and know him again.

So, take time with God, getting to know him better. Meditate on His Word and all the promises in Psalm 91, and much more, will become yours. It will not matter what happens, good or bad, in 2012 for you will be hidden in God’s presence and protection.

Happy New Year!



©COPYRIGHT 2011 RICHARD SPANGLER

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Personal Christmas


My wife and one of my daughters had just left our home to go Christmas shopping, and I had the home to myself for the next few hours. I began to think about all the events that were coming up and the shopping I still needed to do. I'm going to need a vacation in January just to recover, I thought. My mental calculator was going into overdrive trying to figure out how to stay within the budget and still make everyone happy without breaking the bank.

 In the middle of this I had the thought … keep it personal at Christmas.

I thought this is strange, everyone knows that Christmas is a time of shop-till-you-drop and go until you can't go any more. But the thought of keeping it intimate and meaningful at Christmas persisted.

   I mediated on this thought of intimacy in the Christmas story. I soon realized just how personal Christmas truly was. First, we have a young girl named Mary, who has an encounter with an angel. After a brief discussion, she agrees to have a child by the Holy Spirit … and an individually private and wonderful thing occurs, she conceives (Luke1:26-38).

   Mary's soon to be husband, Joseph, has his own face-to-face visit from an angel of the Lord who informs him as to what has happened, and encourages him to marry Mary ( Matthew 1:18-25) .

  We all know the next part of the story found in Luke 2:1-18. There was no room in the inn; the place was packed with people, not a private place at all. Eventually a small, intimate shelter was found. It was a stable and there the birth of Jesus took place.

 Later, shepherds showed up, telling of an encounter with angels and they came to see what God had done. The thing I would like to point out is there were only a few shepherds, maybe as many as 12. In other words, there were a few personally chosen people who came to the stable that night.

   Then, in Luke 2:25-38, a great example of the affection and individual  relationship God desires with those who love Him takes place. Simeon, a devout and righteous man and Anna a woman who worshipped God day and night have a life-long desire fulfilled. They have their personal time with Jesus. This happened in the middle of the Temple, even though hundreds of people were going about their business all around them.

    Finally the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12) who traveled from the east and they sought out the King of the Jews. When they found him, they had an intimate time of worship.

   So, here in the midst of one of the greatest events of all eternity, God takes time to be personal with His people, to those who had an intimate relationship with Him. God's desire for mankind is to have a close relationship with Him. He waits patiently for us. Take time in the midst of all the shopping, parties and events this Christmas season to spend some personal time with Jesus.

    Remember that Jesus wants to spend time with you. Just, take a few minutes, get still, and invite him to come as you wait on him. If you do this, you will find a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God. You will also find a truth in Christmas that will change your life.

©COPYRIGHT 2011 RICHARD SPANGLER

Monday, December 5, 2011

Being Intimate at Christmas


My wife and one of my daughters had just left our home to go and do Christmas lay-away shopping and I had the home to myself for the next few hours. I began to think about all the events coming up and the shopping to be done. I’ll need a vacation in January to recover. My mental calculator is going into overdrive trying to figure out the budget and how to make everyone happy without breaking the bank. In the middle of this God drops a thought, be intimate at Christmas. I thought this is strange everyone knows that Christmas is a time of shop to you drop and go until you can’t go any more. But the thought of being intimate at Christmas persisted.

   So, I began to mediate on this thought of intimacy. I began to take a closer look at the Christmas Story and I began how intimate it truly was. First of all we have a young girl named Mary having an encounter with an angel and after a short discussion she agrees to have a child by the Holy Spirit and an intimate a wonderful thing occurs she conceives Luke 1:26-38.

Mary’s soon to be husband, Joseph gets his own intimate visit, in a dream, from the Angel of the Lord telling him what has happened and its O.K. to marry Mary ( Matthew 1:18-25) .

  We all know the next part of the story found in Luke 2:1-18. There was no room in the inn; the place was packed with people, not an intimate place at all. But an intimate was found, in a stable and the birth of Jesus took place. Then, shepherds showed up, telling of an encounter with angels and they come to see what God has done. The thing I would like to point out is there were only a few shepherds maybe as many as twelve.  In other words, there was an intimate few who came to the stable that night. 

   Then, in Luke 2:25-38 comes a great point of intimacy with God. Simeon, a devout and righteous man and Anna a woman who worshipped God day and night have their intimate time with Jesus. This happened in the middle of the Temple with hundreds of people going about their business around them. And finally, the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12) who traveled from the east and sought out the King of the Jews and when they found him, they had an intimate time of worship. 

   So, here in the midst of one of the greatest events of all eternity, God takes time to be intimate with His people who have a relationship with Him. God’s desire for mankind is to have an intimate relationship with Him. He waits patiently for us. Take time in the midst of all the shopping, parties and events this Christmas season to spend some intimate time with Jesus. Remember Jesus wants to spend time with you.

Just, take a few minutes, get still, and invite him to come as you wait on him. If you do this, you will find a deeper and more intimate relationship with God. You will also find a truth in Christmas that will change your life.      

   

©COPYRIGHT 2011 RICHARD SPANGLER