Saturday, December 17, 2011

WHY JESUS IS BETTER THAN SANTA

By:  F. Kong


There are two figures that compete for prominence during Christmas: Jesus Christ and Santa Claus. Christ should be the reason for the celebration and yet the world seems to prefer the big overweight bearded jolly fellow who wears a red pajama suit because Santa brings us goodies. And in a world that has turned out to be highly materialistic, Santa becomes the symbol of the provider of the things we want in life, not the things we need.

When employees go home mumbling and grumbling because the Christmas bonuses given them did not meet their expectations, Santa has failed them. When employers can’t wait for the year-end inventory so that they can once more take a splurge in buying another luxury car, taking a dream vacation or getting that nice and spacious house in a plush subdivision, then they’re waiting for Santa. When government officials and purchasing agents open their arms in warm welcome to their suppliers who come bearing gifts, then they are anxiously waiting for Santa. There is no Christ while Santa’s on every mouth.

An unknown author wrote, “WHY JESUS IS BETTER THAN SANTA CLAUS.”


  • Santa lives at the North Pole … JESUS is everywhere.
  • Santa rides in a sleigh … JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
  • Santa comes but once a year … JESUS is an ever-present help.
  • Santa fills your stockings with goodies … JESUS supplies all your needs.
  • Santa comes down your chimney uninvited … JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart.
  • You have to wait in line to see Santa … JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
  • Santa lets you sit on his lap … JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
  • Santa doesn’t know your name, all he can say is, “Hi little boy or girl, what’s your name?” … JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does he knows our name, He knows our address, too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.
  • Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly … JESUS has a heart full of love.
  • All Santa can offer is HO HO HO … JESUS offers health, help, and hope.
  • All Santa says is, “You better not cry.” … JESUS says, “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”
  • Santa’s little helpers make toys … JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.
  • Santa may make you chuckle but … JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
  • While Santa puts gifts under your tree … JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.

It’s obvious there is really no comparison. We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about. We need to put Christ back in Christmas because Jesus is still the reason for the season.

The most important thing the author missed is that Santa may bring you all the things you want in this world but those things cannot be brought with you when your time on this planet is up. In contrast, what Jesus gives us lasts for all eternity. We wouldn’t be anything else without Him. – F. Kong

“WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT JESUS?”

He was born of a woman so that we could be born of God.
He humbled Himself so that we could be lifted up.
He became a servant so that we could be made heirs.
He suffered rejection so that we could become His friends.
He denied Himself so that we could freely receive all things.
He gave Himself so that He could bless us in every way!

MAY YOU KNOW HIS LOVE THIS CHRISTMAS.

Friday, December 16, 2011

SCROOGE



A very stingy man went Christmas shopping, but everything he saw was too expensive except a P1,500 peso vase that was on sale for 50 pesos because the handle was broken off. He bought it and had the salesman ship it by mail so that his friend would think that he had paid P1,500 peso for it and that it had been broken in the shipment.

A week after Christmas, he received a thank you letter from his friend. The note says, “Thank you for the lovely vase,” and “it was so nice of you to wrap each piece separately.” What an embarrassment! How could a vase get broken by accident and arrive at his friend’s house with the broken pieces wrapped separately?

I was told that a textile tycoon used to send his friends Christmas presents in the form of fabrics. But there was a problem with his gifts. Each piece of fabric was always a piece too short and when examined closely, they had runs on it. In other words, only second quality fabrics. But the most ridiculous thing this stingy fellow would do was call up his friends and explain that the fabrics were not too wide because they were skinny anyway! And all the while I thought that Scrooge was just in books. Now I’m sure that they are everywhere.

It has been said that there are essentially three kinds of givers. The first kind is what you call the flint type of givers. To get anything out of a flint, you must hammer it. The second is the sponge kind of giver – the more you squeeze, the more you will get. The third giver is the honeycomb kind of giver. The honeycomb giver just overflows with its own sweetness.

I’d like to add another kind of giver to this list. What I have in mind is the investor kind of givers. They give expecting to make a profit. They grant favors only because they have a hidden agenda. Appliances, furniture, and on more than one occasion, cold cash are unabashedly sent to their clients. In return for a sizable order for the forthcoming year. What’s so indecent about this is that the gift goes with a verbal reminder about next year’s business transactions.

Isn’t it terrible how the once noble act of gift-giving is now degraded by a ton of selfish motives? This had effectively destroyed the meaning of Christmas.

If we really want to give, we better make sure that the desire springs from true appreciation and friendship. Giving is not necessarily wrong but we should be careful that we don’t compromise our principles and standards.

I’m not immune to giving gifts. In fact, I love to do it. In my heart, I’m actually aiming for a deeper level of friendship when I do. I accept gifts too, but only when I’m confident that I’m seen as a friend, not as a guarantee for more business.

Don’t copy Scrooge when you give. Don’t be a flint or a sponge or even an investor. Give only when it comes from your heart it must be valuable. And when you receive, remember that righteousness has no price tag. The gift should never threaten your integrity and honesty.

We sometimes fail to recognize that God’s sacrifice is the premise of giving gifts during Christmas. He gave His son Jesus to stand in for our punishment and in return, we are asked to accept that event as true – that Jesus really did open the way to God. God in His grace, gave us the faith to believe just that. Our belief reaches its completion when we let go of our past and what people might say of us just to welcome God in our hearts. We let God’s standards be ours, His principles our lifestyles, His word our manual for living and His son our model.

Oh hey, we don’t get to be all that spiritual in a snap of a finger. It’s a process of being more and more in awe of God as time passes. Imagine? Giving isn’t just a simple act, it’s a mighty stretch on our part to build lives. - F. Kong

Thursday, December 15, 2011

GIVE WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED by: J. Maxwell

Jesuit theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one’s self to others.” Anyone who has unselfishly helped another person knows this to be true. Yet not everyone is able to adopt an ongoing mind-set of giving toward others. Why is that? I believe it has nothing to do with circumstances. I’ve met generous people with almost nothing who were willing to share what little they possessed. And I’ve met well-off people who were stingy with their time, money, and talents. The issue is really attitude.

People who give with no strings attached almost always have an abundance mentality. They are generous because they believe that if they give, they will not run out of resources. Pastor and former college professor Henri Nouwen states, “When we refrain from giving, with a scarcity mentality, the little we have will become less. When we give generously, with an abundance mentality, what we give away will multiply.”

I have found this to be true. Someone once asked me why he should adopt an abundance mentality, and he was surprised by my answer. I told him that if you believe in abundance, that’s what life gives you. If you believe in scarcity, then that’s what you get. I don’t know why that is, but after fifty years of paying attention to people’s attitudes and watching how life unfolded for them, I know it to be true. So if you desire to be more generous, change your thinking and your attitude when it comes to abundance. Not only will it allow you to be more generous, but also it will change your life.

Give first, no matter what your circumstances may be.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH OVER FEAR


Fear is a poor chisel for carving out tomorrow. Today, if you are viewing your future from a position of fear or worry, I want to let you know that view is not accurate or correct. Instead, view your future from a position of faith. That’s the truth. Worry is simply the triumph of fear over faith.

     There is a story about a woman crying profusely and standing on a street corner. A man came up to her and asked why she was weeping. The lady shook her head and replied: “I was just thinking that maybe someday I would get married. We would later have a beautiful baby girl. Then one day this child and I would go for a walk along this street, and my darling daughter would run into the street, get hit by a car, and die.”

     It sounds like a pretty ridiculous situation – weeping because of something that will probably never happen. Yet we act this way when we worry. We blow a situation out of proportion that might not ever come to pass.

     An old Swedish proverb says: “Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.” Worry is simply the misuse of the creative imagination that God has placed within each of us. When fear rises in our minds, we should learn to expect the opposite in our lives. The opposite of fear is faith.

     The word worry is derived from an Anglo-Saxon term to strangle or to choke off. There is no question that worry and fear do choke off the creative flow from God. The less you worry, the more ideas, insight, and revelation you will have.

     Things are seldom as they seem. “Skim milk masquerades as cream,” said W. S. Gilbert. As we dwell on and worry about matters beyond our control, a negative effect begins to set in. Too much analysis always leads to paralysis. Worry is a route that leads from somewhere to nowhere. Never let it direct your life.

     In Psalm 55:22 the Bible says, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Never respond out of fear, and never fear to respond. Action attacks fear; inaction reinforces it. - John L. M.

     Don’t worry and don’t fear. Instead, take your fear and worry to the Lord, “casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

CULTIVATE DETERMINATION


Author Napoleon Hill noted, “Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.” To develop persistence over the long haul, you have to cultivate inward determination on a continual basis. And if you do, someday your story may be similar to one of these:

  • ·         Admiral Peary attempted to reach the North Pole seven times before he made it on try number eight.
  • ·         Oscar Hammerstein had five flop shows that lasted less than a combined total of six weeks before Oklahoma, which ran for 269 weeks and grossed $7 million.
  • ·         John Creasey received 743 rejection slips from publishers before one word was ever published – he eventually published 560 books, which have sold more than 60 million copies.
  • ·         Eddy Arcaro lost 250 consecutive races before he won his first.
  • ·         Albert Einstein, Edgar Allan Poe, and John Shelley were all expelled from school for being mentally slow.


Learn to become a determined individual. And remember, the only difference between a little shot and a big shot is that the big shot kept shooting. – J. Maxwell

Saturday, December 10, 2011

THE WAY TO BE TRULY HAPPY


     MANY PEOPLE WANT TO DO AS LITTLE as they possibly can and still get by. But God did not create us to be mediocre. He doesn’t want us to just barely get by, or to do what everybody else is doing. God has called us to be people of excellence and integrity. Indeed, the only way to be truly happy is to live with excellence and integrity. Any hint of compromise will taint our greatest victories or our grandest achievements.

     Remember:  you represent Almighty God. How you live, how you conduct your business and do your work, is all a reflection on our God. If you want to live your best life now, start aiming for excellence in everything you do. – J. Osteen


Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. – Col. 3: 23-24 (NASB)

Friday, December 9, 2011

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH



One thing about being young is that there are so many decisions to be made: decisions about school, decisions about relationships, decisions about career, decisions about marriage, decisions about where to spend your time, and the list goes on. Of all the options available, how do you know what is right for you?

God loves you far too much to have you waste your life on foolish choices. When you became a Christian, God gave you His Holy Spirit to guide you in His truth. The Holy Spirit, who is your perfect counselor, knows the mind of God. Life can be confusing sometimes. When you find yourself in a dilemma and you don’t know where to turn, turn to God. When others are putting pressure on you to do something, the Holy Spirit will help you discern whether it’s right or wrong to do as they say. Counselors, pastors, parents, and friends can all be helpful as you make decisions, but ultimately, the decisions are yours, as are the consequences of those decisions. Don’t make your choice until you’ve heard from the Spirit of Truth.

It’s human nature to seek advice when you’re not sure what to do. It can be very helpful to get advice from those you respect, but don’t ignore the counselor who lives within you. People make mistakes; God does not. Whenever you’re overwhelmed, it means you don’t know the truth of your situation, and you need to hear from the Spirit of Truth. - Blackaby


“But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” – John 16: 13

Thursday, December 8, 2011

THE HIGHEST HONOR FOR YOU

 Have you ever been specifically chosen for a special honor or award? Do you remember the thrill of knowing that out of all who could have been selected, you were the one preferred to receive the honor? Often, we hear adopted children tell of the joy they find in knowing they were specially sought out by their adoptive parents.

You may feel that you’ve not been chosen for anything significant in your life. Well, if you are a Christian, you’ve been selected to receive the highest honor and blessing possible, you’re a child of the King. You are God’s child for one reason alone; God chose you. Of all the millions of people who populated the earth – past, present, and future – God noticed you and determined that you should be His. The time came when you realized that God was reaching out to you and you reached back. Now you are His, bought with a price and profoundly valuable to Him. As God’s chosen child, you have a new purpose – to make a difference in God’s kingdom. Jesus referred to this as “bearing fruit that will last.” God did not choose you to grant you eternal life and then forget about you. He wants your life to become like Christ’s life. He wants you to live forever in an intimate relationship with Him, bringing Him glory in all that you say and do.

Take time to reflect on the incredible honor that is yours as an adopted child of God. Reflect on whether your life is producing lasting fruit for the glory of the One who has chosen you. – Blackaby


You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. – John 15: 16 (NIV)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NO COMPROMISES


A PERSON OF EXCELLENCE and integrity goes the extra mile to do what’s right. He keeps his word even when it’s difficult. People of excellence give their employers a full day’s work; they don’t come in late, leave early, or call in sick when they are not. When you have an excellent spirit, it shows up in the quality of your work, and the attitude with which you do it.

God’s people are people of excellence. Subtle compromises of excellence will keep us from God’s best. Whatever we do, we should give our best effort and do it as if we were doing it for God. If we’ll work with that standard in mind, God promises to reward us, and others will be attracted to our God. – J. Osteen


Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men. – Prov. 22: 29 (NKJV)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

YOU HAVE A GIFT ... UNTIE THE RIBBONS


Seize the moment! Oral Roberts once said, “Miracles are coming by you or to you every day.” Today was once the future from which you expected so much in the past. Horatio Dresser said, “The ideal never comes. Today is ideal for him who makes it so.” Live for today. Don’t let what you have within your grasped today be missed entirely because only the future intrigued you, and the past disheartened you.

Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. When can you live if not now? All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today. Seneca said, “Begin at once to live.” Ellen Metcalf remarked, “There are many people who are at the right place at the right time but don’t know it.” It is okay to take time to plan, but when the time of action has arrived, stop thinking and go for it!

The bible says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Marie Edgeworth said, “There is no moment like the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh on him can have no hope from them afterwards; for they will be dissipated, lost, and perished in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence.

John Burroughs said, “The lesson which life repeats and constantly reinforces is, ‘Look under foot.’ You are always nearer than you think ... The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour.” The most important thing in our lives is what we are doing now.

Know the real value of today. I agree with Jonathan Swift when he said, “May you live all the days of your life.” The future that you long and dream for begins today. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.”

The regrets that most people experience in life come from failing to act when they have an opportunity. Albert Dunning said, “Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know that they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them is ... to watch what each day brings.” Heed 2 Corinthians 6:2: “Now is the accepted time.” I agree with Martial when he said, “Tomorrow life is too late; live today.” Wayne Dyer observed, “Now is all we have. Everything that has ever happened, anything that is ever going to happen to you, is just a thought.” Today, well lived, will prepare you for both the opportunities and obstacles of tomorrow.

Few know when to rise to the occasion. Most only know when to sit down. Many spend too much time dreaming of the future, never realizing that a little of it arrives every day. I agree with Ruth Schabacker  when he said, “Every day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” – John L. M.




Sunday, December 4, 2011

DO IT MYSELF

Little Johnny was walking along the railroad tracks when suddenly he got his foot caught under one of the railroad ties. He tried to get it out, but it was really stuck. As he struggled to free his foot, he heard a noise and turned around. To his horror, he saw a train coming.

Panicked, he started to pray, “God, please get my foot out of these tracks, and I’ll stop being bad!” Nothing happened; his foot was still stuck. He looked up to see the train getting closer!

He prayed again, “God, please get my foot out, and I’ll stop swearing and I’ll stop being bad!”

Still nothing. His foot was wedged tight. The train was just seconds away! Little Johnny struggled frantically as the train’s horn blared.

He tried his plea one more time, “God, please, if You get my foot out the tracks, I’ll quit being bad, I’ll stop swearing, AND I’ll stop cheating in my tests!”

Just as the train was about to hit Johnny, his foot broke free and he fell backwards, the train narrowly missing him. He got up, dusted himself off, looked toward heaven, and said, “Thanks anyway God, I got it myself.”

Aren’t we like Johnny? We’re in a spot. We can’t fix the situation. Sheer desperation leads us into a state of panic. Our heads turn left to right in vain search for help. We are deserted. And so we pray, “Lord, help me out of this. You know I’m in a spot right now and my financial resources are depleting. Help me out of this and I promise you, I’ll be a good boy. I’ll even build a church for You. I’ll be faithful to my wife. I’ll spend time with the children. I’ll give money to charity but please, get me out of this situation.”

Then a miracle happens. You’re freed from your problem, but you say, “It’s a good thing I did this and that to pull myself out of trouble.” God is forgotten while all the credit goes to you.

Do you know that God’s major problem with people isn’t about sin? God knows every person is born with it so our sins no longer surprise Him. In fact, He’s even prepared a solution for it way before He made the earth inhabitable. God’s perfect Son died on the cross in our stead and when He became alive again, He secured a path for us to His Father. The only thing we’ve to do now is to believe that Jesus did all that, repent for our sins and let God manage our lives.

So what’s God’s problems? It’s our refusal to do just that. We could have the fatal knack to find every reason not to believe in Jesus. We’re so stubborn, we even think we could be independent of God. Some of us already know that this solution exists but can’t make the jump from knowledge to belief because they don’t want Christ interfering with their lives. Educated and intelligent people want to be masters of their fates and captains of their souls. Their theme song is, “I did it my way.”

There will be a time when he can no longer do it his way. I just hope that at that time the heart would not be too hard to accept Christ. For those who are already in Christ the entire situation is different. No matter how tight the situation is, they let God have His way. They know that no matter what happens, God gets the credit.

Trust in God. You’ll never fail. – F. Kong