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Posts Tagged ‘Santa Claus’

Verses 1-2: “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.”

When I was growing up, one of my favorite Rankin-Bass Christmas specials was The Year Without a Santa Claus. Probably the most memorable characters in that special were the feuding Miser brothers: Snow Miser, the cheery, frozen master of all things cold (thus he ruled the polar areas) and Heat Miser, the hot-tempered, combustible king of heat (who ruled the warm regions). Mrs. Claus was trying to convince a sick, tired, and depressed Santa that he hadn’t been forgotten by people. Her plan was to get Snow Miser to make it snow in Southtown; if the citizens saw snow there (where it hadn’t ever fallen), they’d whip up a parade and celebration for Santa. Unfortunately, Mrs. Claus had to secure the permission of Heat Miser to let it snow in his territory…which he would, IF…there’s always an “if”…he could make it warm for one day at the North Pole. Of course, both boys couldn’t compromise and resumed their feuding!

Mrs. Claus had had enough…and threatened to go “all the way to the top”. This put the fear into both of the Miser brothers; she was going to go to their mother! (Mother Nature, to be exact). For all their power and bravado, Mother Nature only had to remind them that SHE was in charge, and that they would do whatever she commanded. She was the authority, no question about it.

Here we have the situation of some Pharisees who did believe in Jesus, and came down to where Paul and Barnabas had been teaching. They were in agreement about faith in Jesus…plus some extras. They were insisting, to be saved, the Gentiles had to be circumcised like the Jews! Oh, boy. Talk about an argument! When Paul and Barnabas found out, it was probably a war of words to put the Miser brothers to shame. And, in this case, the result was similar: Paul, Barnabas, and some others were sent to Jerusalem, still considered the center of the Christian church in the known world. Paul and Barnabas knew they had to get support to stop this heresy…and they did…in what you might call the church’s first big convention and business meeting!

More to come!

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Verse 26: “Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.”

Imagine you were preaching to crowds; many were coming to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and receiving the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands by the apostles. Then, in the midst of this successful ministry, reaching masses of people, the Lord calls you to go minister…to one person. What’s more, instead of being in a nearby locale to where you are now, He says go to the desert…and wait. You and I might be wondering “what did I do wrong? Am I being punished?” Not Philip; he followed the Lord’s angel’s instructions without question or doubt. There, he was about to have an encounter that would be most memorable.

You never know when God is going to give you an assignment you weren’t expecting. One December, while my family and I were stopped in Auburn, we ate at the local mall. While getting some Chinese food, the Oriental young man behind the counter asked me, in broken English, about what did Christmas mean. I politely explained that there were two differing reasons for the holiday…the secular one that includes Santa Claus, and the real reason: the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on this earth, come to live as a man and be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, dying for us and rising again. Then he asked something that was about as direct a question as I’ve ever gotten: “who is this Jesus?” I did my best to witness to him and to tell him; I even left my wife’s pocket New Testament with him and instructing him to start reading in John. We couldn’t stay long unfortunately, as we were travelling…but I did contact a local church in the area to seek him out. You never know when God is going to give you an assignment…are you ready for yours?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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