PRAISE News

Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org

by Merlin Carothers

     What will Christmas mean to us this year? Probably many different things.  But what does Jesus’ Father want Christmas to mean?

     In our lifetime there have been many changes in what business and public schools want Christmas to mean. Notice what you see this time of year. Most stores will celebrate “Xmas”. Many schools will sing “Jingle Bells” but nothing about Baby Jesus. Bit by bit changes keep moving our country toward making Christmas a non-Christian holiday.

     What can we do? We can get back to the emphasis that our Heavenly Father wants us to have when we talk about His Son. We can remember that God designed Jesus’ birthday for His own special purpose. A Child was born who would show the world what God wants to do for those whom He created in His own image.

     What should we think about during this season?

               1. This is the birthday of God’s Son.

               2. The ways we can honor His Son.

     Is it appropriate to give presents to others just as God gave Jesus to us? Yes, because Jesus taught us to give blessings to others. But, above everything else God wants Jesus to be honored for being our Savior. He is the reason we celebrate His birthday.

     Our priority this Christmas should be, “Jesus is Lord.” He said no person could ever enter Heaven except through faith in Him. Of course that makes some people angry. Others think we should not offend anyone by repeating what God said. But here is what we say we believe:  Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Also in John 14:6:  I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Because of what Jesus taught He was crucified! Through the years many Christians have been executed because they refused to renounce what He said. I have been told that more people were martyred for their faith in Jesus during the last century than in all the previous years since Jesus was crucified.

     Jesus’ words are sometimes ignored or criticized. But we should not remain silent about our faith in who He is! If we say Jesus is our Savior that means we depend on Him to give us eternal life.   Jesus should be at the very front of our hearts and tongues. We are the ones God has chosen to tell the whole world who His Son is.

    Let’s do our best this Christmas season to honor Jesus, as God wants Him to be honored! We do not need to argue with others. Sometimes our silent loving behavior can speak louder than words. We are gloriously saved children of God who believe that He is the reason we have great joy!      (Reprint from December, 2008)

by Mary Carothers

     One night long ago near the little town of Bethlehem, shepherds were in the field watching over their sheep.  There is no evidence that this night was any different from any other night. Perhaps they had a small fire and were sitting around it. Some of the shepherds might have been dozing, while others were alert listening for sounds from the sheep to be sure all were peacefully resting.

     Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared. With the sound of his voice and the glory shining all around, the shepherds were instantly wide-awake. No more sleep that night for any of them! Their immediate reaction was fear, however the angel’s first words were, “Don’t be afraid”. God had good news for them. The angel told them of the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem. Then he told them how to find the Lord. He would be wrapped in the cloths that babies wore at that time, lying in a manger. But the angel didn’t tell them which manger would cradle the Christ Child nor even behind which inn he would be found. The town was very crowded and there had been no room for Mary and Joseph at the inn. People in that day traveled on donkeys, camels, etc., so there also would have been many animals to board.

     The shepherds received no instant solution to their search for Jesus. He was to be found only by those who persevered in seeking Him. This is also true for us today. While the shepherds were searching for Jesus, they probably looked in many stockyards, barns and caves before they found the one that held the Lord.

     The Christian life also requires perseverance.  The “race” that the Bible talks about in Hebrews 12 is a marathon, not a fifty yard dash. It is a lifelong race to be run.  Romans 5:3 tells us that our troubles can produce perseverance in us. That certainly is not one of my favorite verses! I would much rather receive the answers to my prayers quickly and easily. But that’s not the way God usually deals with us. Hebrews 10:36 tells us that we need to persevere in order to receive God’s promises.

     The shepherds had great joy when they found the Lord. They praised and glorified God. What a blessing to be chosen to be the very first people to see God’s Anointed One! And just think, they might have missed that very special blessing if they had not persevered in searching for Him until they found Him. Jeremiah 29:13 promises us that the Lord is found only when we search for Him with all our hearts.

     We live in such an “instant” culture. We have quick fix solutions in movies, television, novels, etc. But that’s not real life. Real life requires perseverance. All too often we feel we should be able to pull up to God’s “drive-in window” and receive a full order of health, prosperity and solutions to our prayers. It is true that all of our needs are met in Christ Jesus.  It is also true that He may want us to mature along the way, to learn to trust Him in a particular area of our life.

     Let’s make a decision to learn to persevere. Not only will this honor the Lord, it will be a blessing to us. Can you think of a more blessed gift than to someday hear Jesus say, You have persevered and endured….well done…  In the meantime let’s give Jesus the Christmas present of growing up a little more in Him.

Many thanks to all my friends for your

numerous remembrances of my birthday.

I wish I could thank every one of you personally,

unfortunately that’s not possible.

I pray our loving Lord will bless each one of you

with a growing awareness of His love during this

Holiday Season, as well as in this coming year.

Here in prison I read God’s Secret Weapon and I loved it. Please pray for me.  John, TX

 

In less than 24 hours I have read Secret Sins and Bringing Heaven into Hell. God has opened my eyes to how my impure thoughts were causing me to sin. Now I’m prepared to renew my mind and accept Jesus fully in my life.     Brandon, IN

 

I read Let Me Entertain You and enjoyed it very much.  Your candid words about the temptations we all face today were great. Thank you.      Dottie, VA

I enjoy reading the Praise News. Prison to Praise was the tool the Lord used to teach me to praise Him in all things and I am forever grateful.     Pearl, NY

 

Prison to Praise has been a blessing in my life.   Stone, Nigeria

 

Reading Prison to Praise and Power in Praise here in prison, changed me! I cannot put the books down.      Larry, WV

 

I lost everything because of my drug problems. Here in prison I read Bringing Heaven into Hell, and I thank the Lord for that book. It has given me the strength to praise the Lord for all the things that have happened in my life.  Terry, IA

 

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PO Box 2518

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760.741.2755

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