Sunday, December 18, 2016

Keep Christ at the center of your Christmas celebration!

When I was growing up, our family didn't open our presents until Christmas morning.  I recall how excited we were on Christmas Eve; how we obediently went to bed so we could wake up early Christmas Day to see what treasures our stockings held and to open the colorfully wrapped packages under the tree. As we grew older, I recall how we begged Dad to let us open just one present on Christmas Eve. He resisted for a long time. But, just as dripping water can eventually wear down a piece of hard stone, Dad finally gave in. At first we were allowed to open just one. But, the door was open. It wasn't long before we were allowed to open all our gifts on Christmas Eve.
When my children were growing up, I thought I would be a purist and make them wait until Christmas Day to open their gifts. I didn't last as long as my father. Most of the time they persuaded me to let them open them all on Christmas Eve. I kept saying that the next year I would hold my ground but never did.
Christmas is an exciting time for people, but, it is only celebrated in the fullest sense when we remember what Christmas is all about. It is the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior. It is a day on which God fulfilled his promise to send his Son to suffer and die in our place. Even though we had lots of gifts under the tree when I was a child, my parents never failed to remind us of what Christmas was all about. Their focus was not on Santa but the Savior. It was not on our gifts to each other but God’s gift to the world.
As we celebrate Christmas, we cannot help but be excited. Our excitement, however, dare not center solely on the gifts under the tree, family and friends. It must center on God's gift of a Savior. Remember that the gifts we buy our loved ones are symbols of God’s loving gift to us, his Son – our Savior. Let the lights that shine from our house and trees remind us of Jesus Christ who is described as the Light shining in a world darkened by sin and unbelief. Let the Christmas carols remind of the amazing events that took place when Jesus was born.
Let your children enjoy the stories of Santa, the Grinch that Stole Christmas, and Frosty the Snow Man. But, be sure that they understand that the focus of Christmas is the birth of our Savior. Have a family devotion each evening that reminds you of God’s promise of a Savior and that promise fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.

Include special worship services in your celebration, especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Let your family sing out, “Joy to the World! The Lord is Come!” Let your cards not just proclaim “Holiday Greetings!” Let your Christmas greetings express your joy in the birth of the Savior. Keep Christ at the center of your Christmas celebration from beginning to end. If you do, your Christmas joy will be complete. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Being content is another way to say “thanks” to God.

Being content is another way to say “thanks” to God.

All you have to do is watch news clips from around the world to see how richly blessed we are in America. We have a living standard that is the envy of most in the world. Though millions of people have migrated to our land for over 200 years – they still come. Coming to America doesn’t seem to get old. People everywhere leave their country, family, and culture behind to come to our country. Most are looking for what is called the “American Dream.” Many are willing to enter illegally and risk their lives in the process just to get here. All these facts testify to how richly our country has been blessed compared to so many nations around the world.
But there is a strange yet common irony in our land. Though our lives are filled with more blessings than we can use, our constant desire is to want more. What causes us to think that the more we have the happier we will be? I am sure it is just part of our human nature. It leads us to be unsatisfied, and always wanting more.
When we consider our incredible standard of living we enjoy, should we take take some time to think about it and to thank the One who has given it to us.
What a blessing it would be to simply honor the Father in heaven with contentment. What a blessing to rise above the national cry for more. How blest we are when we take time to consider how each material blessing has fit so perfectly into our lives and fulfils our needs. There is a famous saying taken from God’s Word which says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (I Tim 6:6)
Contentment is just not part of our conversation today. Work harder! Make more! Spend! Charge it! Enjoy it! You deserve it! Retire early! These are the cries of the world around us. Now don’t get me wrong. It is not wrong to work hard or to achieve success or to improve our lot in life. It is quite another thing to be content with what God has given us. Take a test. How happy would you be if you never got a raise; if you never were able to buy a new car; if what you have now was taken from you?
Being content, really content is a gift from God. You can be rich or poor and, if you are content, you will find happiness and peace. Contentment is the foundation of true thanksgiving.
May your Thanksgiving Day be a blessed one! O give thanks to the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endures forever!” (Psalm 106:1)


Sunday, November 13, 2016

How good must we be to please God?


An English duke was out hunting in the forest one day with his men-at-arms when they came across a tree. On the tree had been painted an archery target and smack in the center of the bull’s eye was an arrow embedded deep into the tree. It was a perfect shot. They continued on only to find more targets just like the first. A circle target with an arrow embedded right in the center of the bull’s eye. There must have been a dozen of them. The duke was amazed. Never before had he seen an archer who had such accuracy.
As they went on, they soon came across a young lad with a bow and arrows. The duke asked the boy if he knew who had shot the arrows they had just seen. The boy acknowledged that he had. Much surprised, duke asked, ‘You didn’t simply take a rock and set the arrow into the targets did you?” The boy said he hadn’t. In fact, he swore that he had shot all the arrows from a hundred paces. Immediately the duke asked the boy if he would serve as one of his archers and the boy agreed. Then the duke said, “You must tell me how you became such an expert shot.” “Well,” said the boy, “first I shot the arrow into the tree and then I painted the target around it.”
This how many people become moral or good in their own eyes. We shoot our moral arrows and wherever they hit, we draw a target around them. Some are pleased because they go to church every Sunday but think nothing of cheating on their spouse, getting drunk, or telling a lie to cover up their mistakes. It’s done by comparing ourselves to others. When we do, it’s easy to find someone who is not as good as we are and compare ourselves to them. In the end, we feel good and become convinced that God must feel that way too.
God’s standard for goodness or morality is much different. He says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). It’s clear from God’s Word that his standards for goodness are much higher than ours. In James (2:10), God says, “For whoever keeps the whole law, yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” In other words, if we commit just one sin, we miss God’s demand for perfection.
There is only one way to become good in God’s eyes. There is only one way we can ever hope to be good enough to spend eternity with God in heaven. It is through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one who has kept the law perfectly. Never once did he miss the bull’s eye. Then, in love he took our sins and their guilt upon himself and took it to the cross. There he endured his Father’s wrath, the pain and torment of hell, in our place. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 Paul writes, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Good took our sins and put them on Christ. He took Christ’s righteousness and gave it to us. It is simple as that. Simply believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior.



Who did you vote for?


I am writing this article just two days before we start to vote. By the time you read this, it will all be over. The elections will be over. The political ads and phone calls will stop. The daily barrage of polling data will at least slow down. The nation will know, hopefully, who will lead our country for the next four years. Thousands of newly elected officials across the land at every level of government will prepare to take over their duties or continue them.
If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that I steer clear of politics at least as far as endorsing a candidate or telling you whom you should vote for. That’s not my job as a pastor. I’d gladly talk politics on a personal level but from the pulpit.
I do believe that it is part of my calling and the scope of this column to speak out on moral or ethical issues that we face in our daily lives. For example, I believe that the life in the womb is a person with a soul (Psalm 51:5) and should never be aborted unless the life of the mother is in danger. I believe God ordained the institution of marriage and clearly states it is to be a marriage between a man and a woman. (Gen 2:18-24) I believe that the powers that be are ordained by God and deserve our respect and need our prayers (Rom 13:1-3).
Over the years, I have covered these and many other issues. My goal is not to share my opinion but be guided by God’s Word. I know not everyone agrees with me but my goal is to speak the truth guided by God’s Word.
I also believe our only hope for the life to come is found in Jesus Christ. I know that means a lot of people are in trouble but that’s what the Bible clearly teaches. Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). We are all sinners – every one of us. Those sins condemn us and we would end up in hell if not for the saving work of Jesus Christ. In love for every sinner, God sent his own Son to carry out the work of salvation. Jesus, God’s Son, was punished in our place. He faced the wrath of his Father because of our sin. He endured the pain and torment of hell in our place. He died in our place. He rose from the dead to testify to all that his work of salvation was complete. Trust in Jesus for the salvation and you will be saved. Reject him and you will be condemned.

Elections are important. I pray that God will give courage and wisdom, guide and bless whoever it is that wins. I pray for his blessing on our nation as well. Most important of all, I trust in the promises of God. He is the one who gives life its meaning. He is the one who keeps every promise. He is the one who will take me and every other believer in Jesus Christ to heaven when we die. Put your faith and trust in him! To God be the glory. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Does God see your faith by how you live?


Five military recruiters came to a high school to make a presentation to the senior class. Each recruiter represented a different branch of the service. Each was given 15 minutes to make their pitch. The Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force recruiters each got up and did a nice job but they ran over on their time. When the Marine recruiter got up to speak, he only had two minutes left before the kids would be dismissed. He walked up and stood completely silent for the first minute and just stared at the students. When he finally spoke, he said, “I doubt whether there are two or three of you in this room who could even cut it in the Marine Corps. But I want to see those two or three in the dining hall as soon as we are dismissed.” When he arrived in the dining hall, he was mobbed with requests for applications. The motto for the Marines is “We’re looking for a few good men.”
If you look in the Bible, you can find several “good men” - Moses, Job, Joshua, the Apostle Paul, John the Baptist, Peter, and many others. They were not perfect but set a beautiful example we would do well to follow. The Scripture also gives us many examples of “good women” – Esther, Mary the mother of Jesus, Lydia, Mary the sister of Lazarus, etc.
The one that the Bible holds out as one of the best is Abraham. He is called the ‘father of believers.’ That’s because he had such a strong faith. One example of his faith was when the Lord asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Don’t forget, Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old. He was the son to whom the promises were attached – that Abraham’s seed would be as countless as the stars, he would be the father of a great nation, and most importantly, the line from whom the Savior, Jesus, would come.
One day (cf Genesis 22), God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. As difficult as this request must have been for Abraham, he shows us that he was willing to carry it out. Right before he is about to slay his son, the Lord intervenes. He told Abraham that he now knew that Abraham loved the Lord more than his son.
While I can’t imagine ever being faced with such a request, I know the Lord asks me to demonstrate my love for him all the time. Abraham’s faith was evident from his love for God, his obedience to his command, and his trust in God’s promises. Our faith is made clear in the same ways.
When we make it clear by our choices and our priorities that we love the Lord and his Word more than anything else, we demonstrate our faith. Will you go to church on Sunday morning or stay in bed? Will you read Scripture or simply watch TV?
When you are tempted to lie to your boss, have an affair with someone at work, cheat on your taxes, etc. you let the Lord know what you think of him. Abraham showed his faith by his readiness to do what God asked.
When you do not worry about the future, face trials and troubles in life knowing the Lord is watching over you as he has promised; when you know that death is no longer your enemy but your friends; that your sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ because God says so; you are living by faith.

We can never be as “good” as God wants us to be. Our faith is often weak and imperfect. Thank God we have a Savior who wasn’t. Through his perfect life and innocent death, he gained forgiveness, life and salvation for us. That’s why we rejoice and look forward to celebrating his birth and his return to take us to glory on Judgment Day. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What does God need to do to get your attention?

What does God need to do to get your attention?

When my alarm clock goes off early in the morning in certainly gets my attention, as well as that of my wife. Referees get the attention of basketball players with a whistle. Babies get the attention of their parents with the piercing screams. Parents get the attention of their teenagers by threatening to take away their phone.
You can't believe how much money is spent today getting peoples' attention. What young person wouldn't want to buy the latest video game or smart phone after seeing it advertised for four months on TV? How can you resist buying a lottery ticket with all the advertising done which moves you to dream about what it would be like to be a millionaire?
Getting peoples' attention is not something new. God's done it many times. I'm sure the dark clouds, thunder and lightning that surrounded Mt. Sinai at the giving of the Ten Commandments got the attention of the Israelites. Don't you think that he got people's attention with the flood, the fall of Jericho, and with the mighty feats of Sampson? One might wonder how God gets our attention today. Since he doesn't openly reveal himself in the same way he did with the nation of Israel, what does he do?
I can't help but think that God has caught the attention of many a new parent as they witnessed the miracle of birth and the precious gift of a child. Doesn't God get our attention when we look up into the heavens and see the marvels of the world which he made? How can we look at a rainbow and not recall that God placed it in the sky to remind us of his promise not to again destroy the world until judgment day arrives.
Doesn't God also get our attention when we find ourselves flat on our back in the hospital awaiting surgery or as we await the results of lab test? What about when we lose our job? When a loved one dies? When tragedy strikes? God can use all these things too to get our attention. When these things take place, what do we do? We turn to God. We look to God for help, for strength and for answers. Where else can we turn? Who else can help us?

What God has done to capture more attention than anything else was the gift of his own Son, Jesus Christ. Look at how much fuss goes on at Christmas time. The resurrection of Christ has done the same thing. It was God’s proclamation to the world that the victory over sin, death and the grave was won for us by Christ. Has he gotten your attention? I pray he has!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Every day is a great day for a child of God!


Two boys who went to the dentist to have a tooth pulled. They walked into the office and one of them bravely said, “I want you to take out a tooth but I don’t want you to use any anesthetic because we’re in a hurry.” “You sure are brave,” the dentist said. “Which tooth is it?” The boy then turned to his friend and said, “Show him your tooth, Tommy.”
It’s easy to be brave when it’s someone else who has the problem. We often tell someone who is faced with a difficult situation to “hang in there.” “Things will get better in time,” we say confidently. We give encouragement to those who have lost their job or are struggling financially. “It will all work out in the end,” we quip, “It always does.” It is easy to keep a stiff upper lip when it is someone else who faced with the difficult situation.
It is another story when these problems hit close to home. When it is our phone or power that is going to be shut off because we can’t afford to pay the bill, when we are overdrawn at the bank, when we are waiting for the lab tests to come back, when it is our spouse who has had an affair, it’s not so easy to take things in stride. When it is our child that is sick and in the hospital, when we find out that we have cancer, when we receive word that our loved one has died, we worry and grieve. We wonder what we are going to do. “How will we get through it,” we ask?
It is easy to say that we trust God when everything is going well. When we are healthy and strong, when we have a good job and a happy marriage, when our children do well in school and stay out of trouble, we put our faith in God and trust him to take care of things.  But, when something goes wrong, are we still ready to make this confession? Are we not often quick to show doubts and fears about God’s providence and wisdom? “Why has God let this happen to me?” “What good can come from the loss of my job?” It doesn’t take much for us to lose sight of the promises of God, to forget all that he has promised.

What has he promised? - to be with us always, to help us in time of trouble, to use his angels to watch over us, to turn every tragedy into a blessing, to provide for our needs every day. Need I go on? God’s gracious promises mean that we have nothing to fear or worry about. Even our sins, as terrible as they might be, have been forgiven. We have been washed clean by the blood of the Savior. As a child of God, everyday is a good day, no a GREAT DAY! Every day we can look forward to another day of God’s blessings. Your day may not be easy but with God watching over you, you need not despair. Just put your trust in the Lord and remember his promises.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Don’t underestimate the power of the gospel.


Romans 1: 16.  "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation for everyone who believes."
A pastor of a fashionable congregation was in the midst of a rather lengthy sermon. Suddenly, he was horrified to see a small boy throwing spitballs at certain people in the congregation. The pastor stopped his preaching and glared at the boy. The boy looked up at the preacher and said, "You go ahead with your preaching, pastor, and I'll keep them awake!" 
There are some Sundays when I could use a boy like that for I know that my sermon just didn’t cut it. I know from my own experience in the pew that it's not always easy to stay awake or to keep your thoughts from straying. I've been there.
On the other hand, we ought not use the preacher as an excuse to not listen or worse yet, not to go to church. If we do, we are cutting ourselves off from the power of God. The power is not in the pastor's words but in God's Word that he preaches. Paul says in Romans that the "gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone that believes." What an amazing truth that is! That "good news" is God's message of salvation, the good news that Jesus has suffered and died to take away your sins. It is the good news that through faith in Christ we have eternal life and that we will spend it with God. No other message, promise, or story can do what the gospel can do.
The simple message that "Jesus loves me" or "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life" has the power to save us from the eternal fires and punishment of hell. The gospel or good news has the power of the Holy Spirit behind it. It has the power to turn our hearts from unbelief to faith, and to strengthen hearts that are already his.

The next time you are tempted to skip church, to stay home and listen to the news or watch TV instead of a sermon, remember Romans 1:16. That message, which the preacher brings, a message centered on Jesus Christ our Savior from sin, has the power to do things nothing else can do. While the preacher may not always bring it across as well as we might, the power to do the job is still there. For it is the "power of God" for salvation not the power of man.
Written by Pastor Stuppy

Sunday, September 18, 2016

How are Christians motivated to live as Christians?

We all have someone in our lives whom we would like to change.  I can probably say that there are times when my fellow congregational members and my wife would like to change me (and for good reason). But how is it done? How does one get a person to control their temper? To stop drinking? To do their homework? To do what God wants us to do? How do we encourage our fellow church members to be more fully dedicated to Christ? To attend church regularly?  What do we use to motivate Christian behavior?
Laying down the law is the usual method people use to produce changed behavior.  For example, to increase church offerings, a congregation may try shaming its members into giving more.  In such a case the law reads something like this: “A good Christian would give “x” amount of income to the church.”  In a troubled marriage, a spouse may lay down the law like this, “I’m taking the children and leaving unless you clean up your act.”  Parents do the same thing with children. “If you don’t do your homework, you are grounded!”
Sometimes the law throws us a curve. It challenges our sinful nature and it rebels.  It often incites our sinful nature to do just the opposite of what it commands.  God’s Word tells us this.  “When the commandment came, sin sprang to life…” (Romans 7:9) Tell a two year old not to touch something and see what happens.
The law may bring about a change in behavior but the real answer is to change the heart. An illustration of this is the parent who says to the two year old, “Don’t touch that glass vase!”  Two seconds later the child’s hand is reaching out to touch the vase or to see how close they can come without touching it.  Laying down the law often moves us to disobedience.  Even if the law’s threats stop us from committing the sin, it can never motivate anyone to want to do the right thing for the right reason. 
So why don’t we use the Gospel to motive and encourage each other?  Perhaps it is because we want to see instantaneous results.  From our impatient human point of view, the Gospel doesn’t seem to work fast enough.  The law may get results but only the gospel can bring forth results that please God. 
A Lutheran pastor named Herman Gockel gave an illustration of the Gospel’s power to compel Christians to do the right thing. He wrote, “A mother was upset when she saw several suggestive pictures on her son’s dorm room wall. She didn’t say anything at the time, but sent him a picture of Jesus.  He put it on his wall.  In a matter of days, the other pictures were gone.  The mother never once badgered him.  Jesus’ love, as called to mind by the picture, worked in his heart what laying down the law could never do.
“For Christ’s love compels us…and he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)


Sunday, September 11, 2016

God’s Word is truth. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.


We live in a day and age when many of the things we believe in are being assaulted and put to the test. You need only turn on a television and watch a situation comedy, open a newspaper or, talk to a neighbor or friend to find this out. When a son or daughter goes off to college, you know their faith will be tested by some of their professors, fellow students and friends.
These assaults on basic or fundamental Christian beliefs are not something new. They have gone on since the beginning of time. Adam and Eve had their beliefs challenged by the devil in the Garden of Eden. The children of Israel could not resist the lure and temptation of the immoral and idolatrous nations that surrounded them. 
While attacks on Christian beliefs are not new, they seem to bolder than they were a generation ago. When I was growing up, the Bible was still held in high regard. It was considered to be God's Word, true and trustworthy. People may have disagreed on how to interpret it but they agreed that the words in the Bible were given to us by God. 
As I look back, the first real assault on the Bible grew out of the theory of evolution. This theory of Darwin came into direct conflict with the Biblical teaching of creation. As the theory of evolution came into wider acceptance, trust in the Bible began to wain. 
Some said that the Bible was only accurate in matters of salvation and not in such areas as science or history. Others have tried to harmonize the theories of science with the teachings of Scripture by redefining the word “day” from 24 hours to eons.
Some believe that the creation account is merely a fictitious or symbolic account of what really took place. If that's true, God is not being honest with us. One would also have to disregard the many passages that are tied to creation. For example, how are we to understand these words from Exodus 20:11, "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day....?" This section, taken from the giving of the commandments, is certainly not to be taken symbolically or figuratively. On the basis of this action the Lord established the Sabbath Day. (with emphasis on the word – day.)
Efforts are made today to find natural explanations for the miracles of the Bible such as the Flood, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the feeding of the 5,000. There are even "Christians" who question the resurrection of Christ, the existence of the devil, heaven and hell.
Things have changed a lot over the years. Some changes are good. The loss of respect for the Bible as God's trustworthy Word, is not. What a comfort it is to know the TRUTH!  - to know what is right and wrong; what pleases God and what does not. It fills me with awe and wonder when I think of how the almighty Lord made the universe. The same is true when I think of the miracles he has performed.  How amazed I am when I think of God's love shown to me at the cross! How excited I am as I await the sure and certain resurrection of the dead and eternal life! Don't let anyone take these precious truths away from you.  His Word is truth.  (Jn 17:17)


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Only the real righteousness of Jesus will do.


IMITATIONS - the world is full of them.  You can go to the grocery store and buy imitation orange juice, imitation ice cream, imitation vanilla and artificial sweetener. Today you can get imitation eggs for breakfast and put them along side your imitation bacon and then sprinkle them with a salt substitute. You can go the jewelry store and buy imitation diamonds, sapphires and rubies. You can go to the mall and buy an imitation fur coat, imitation leather shoes and coats, or simulated oak furniture.
Imitations - they often look and feel like the real thing, and are hailed as the next best thing especially when you can't afford or shouldn't have the real thing. But more often than not you get what you pay for. If you buy an imitation, you get an imitation, something that isn't going to last as long or work as well or be as good as the real thing. In most cases, the real thing is better.
In the spiritual realm the real thing is always better. In the spiritual world there is nothing like it. Fakes and poor imitations don't make it here. In fact, false notions or imitation religions can put one’s soul at risk.
A good example of this is found in Jesus' remarks to the Pharisee and Publican found in Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee thought he had it made with God. He saw himself as righteous and pleasing to God. The Pharisee prided himself in the keeping of the law. He boasted to God about his good deeds. From his lofty perch of self-righteousness he looked down on the publican who was also there in the temple.
There was only one problem but it was a big one. His righteousness was not real. He was only righteous in his own eyes. He saw himself as righteous because he compared himself to the righteousness of other sinners like the publican. What he needed to do was to compare himself to God. If he had done that, he would have seen how far short of perfection he had come and that he was a sinner without hope.
The publican, on the other hand, knew he was a sinner. He made no excuses for his sin for there were none that God would accept. He saw that his only chance was to throw himself at God's feet and plead for mercy.
Jesus tells us that this man went home justified. Justified means to be declared righteous by God, to be without sin before God. This was accomplished through the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ and is ours by faith. It is real righteousness for Jesus was perfect. Put your faith in Jesus as our Savior. Trust in his righteousness, not yours. His is real! His works! His satisfies God’s demands for holiness. Nothing less will do.
Don't make the mistake the Pharisee did.  Don't look for righteousness in your own good deeds.  Don't think that what you can do will make you acceptable to God.  You'll never be good enough.  Don't take comfort by comparing yourself with others.  There is only one source or real righteousness - Jesus Christ!


Jesus loves children!


It's a boy! This week I was blessed with a new grandbaby. Sebastian was born on Tuesday. Healthy and strong! What a miracle and blessing from God! Children are gifts of God to be viewed with awe, loved, and raised with great care.
Most of us love children. Jesus does too. He did not have any of "his own", but he always had time for them. In another sense, we can say that Jesus does have children. Every child that comes into this world is a gift from God. Jesus as our creator and provider has a right to claim ownership to these children. He simply entrusts them to our care for a time but they are really his.
Jesus loves children so much that he established three institutions in our society to care for them. He instituted governments and powers to look out for all those under their care and protection. That means they are to watch out for the physical welfare of the children under their domain. He also established the church to take care of children's spiritual needs. (The recognition of these two distinct areas of responsibility is reflected in the separation of church and state.) God has also instituted the family to be his daily representative and provide for the welfare of both body and soul.
The home is the other and the most important part of the picture. The home is where parents have the best opportunity to be with their children. The home is where the parents come face to face with their responsibilities for the bodily and spiritual welfare of their children.
The spiritual side is by far the most important. We can let the child grow up and decide what they want to believe. Or we can take an active part in training them. We direct their food choices and teach them about the dangers of fire, taking care of their teeth, etc. Helping them to learn about their Savior's love is equally important.
Parenting is no easy task. The pressures to make a living occupy the majority of our time. Then there are duties around the house and the necessity for some relaxation. In the midst of it all there is the training of our children – the children God entrusted to our care.
The question is, "What will you do?" Teach about Jesus and his love for them. Let them learn about sin and their Savior. Teach it in your home. Bring them to Sunday School and church. Don't put it off!



Serendipity


One of the things I enjoy is studying words. I like to pay attention to the origin and meaning of words. I want to know where they came from and how they got into the English language. One of the words I ran across this week was “serendipity.” Now I understand what the word means and how it is used. It’s used to described something that happens unexpectedly. It comes as a surprise and usually refers to something good.
The word was coined by an English author back in 1754. He was reading a fairy tale called, “The Three Princes of Serendip.” The story is about three princes who traveled to the island of Ceylon which was called Serendip at the time. They were in search of great treasures which they never found. But on their journey they were constantly surprised by unexpected things which were quite amazing. While looking for one thing, they found something else, something good.
Serendipity is a good word to describe what happens in life all the time. We spend our time and energy searching for the treasures of life. We work for money. We seek success. We hope to find satisfaction in our accomplishments. We convince ourselves that the more we have the happier we will be. We believe that our homes, cars, possessions, vacations, are what life is all about. What would life be without them?
Then when we look around we see a life filled with problems. Troubles abound all over the world. They fill our lives as well. We struggle to make our marriage work. The kids are having problems at school. We’ve done things of which we are ashamed. We have messed up more often than we can count. Add to that aches and pains, illness and disease, and the fear of death. Life just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
That’s when the Lord steps in. Serendipity! God comes to us and surprises us with good things, great things! In place of trials and troubles, the Lord promises blessings! With his love and power he promises to use all things for our good. When our conscience troubles us and our sins condemn us, he comes with a promise of forgiveness. If we want happiness, security, a great future, God gives us all of that. In fact, not just for this life but the life to come.

Serendipity. I like that word. It means good things are going to happen. When God is involved, I am sure of it. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Going for the gold!


Have you been watching the Olympics? One can’t but marvel at the awesome abilities of these athletes. Usain Bolt in the 100 meter race; Michael Phelps in his twenty plus gold medals in swimming; Kerry Walsh Jennings in beach volley ball; Simone Biles in gymnastics; the list is a long one. Each one of them the best at what they do. They inspire many, become role models for others, and set a high bar for others.
In the Bible we find many such individuals. People who inspire, who serve as role models, and set an example for others to follow. Noah was one who carried out God’s mission in building the ark in spite of the hostile world in which he lived. Abraham is called the ‘father of believers’ because of his strong faith in God’s promises to make him the father of a great nation, and that the Savior would come from his seed. Sampson is called such a hero, not because he was a great role model, but because of his great strength used in God’s cause.
Another such role model is King David. He came from humble beginnings. He was simply a young shepherd boy at his home in Bethlehem. His father’s name was Jesse. His journey to greatness began when God called upon him to be king of Israel. On his way to the throne, he defeated mighty Goliath with a sling and a smooth river stone. Some after he was recruited by King Saul and given a command position in the army. Every fight he took on, he won. Not because of his strength or ingenuity. Not because of his fighting prowess. He succeeded because God promised to be with him and bless him. David put his trust in God, sought his guidance, and was not disappointed.
He fought the Philistines on more than one occasion and always came away the victor. He conquered the Edomites, the Armenians, the Jebusites – taking over their fortress which was then called the City of David or Jerusalem. He waged war against the Ammonites killing over 40,000 soldiers. He built a fabulous palace; became extremely wealthy and prosperous. He succeed at everything he did.
Then his sinful nature got the best of him. While his army was off to war, David stayed home. From his palace window he saw a beautiful woman named Bathsheba. His lust for her led to his demise. He slept with her, fathered a child, and engineered the murder of her husband to keep his sins secret.
It wasn’t until the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to David did David come to repentance. For months he thought he could hide his sin but it didn’t work. His conscience condemned him and so did God. Finally, he confessed his sin against the Lord and asked for his forgiveness. Nathan assured him that his sin was forgiven (2 Sam 12:13). “The Lord has taken away your sin.”

We are not likely to win a medal in the Olympics. Nor are we to match the accomplishments of King David. What we all have in common is sin. Sin, if left unconfessed leads to God’s judgment and condemnation. Confessed, as David did, it leads to peace with God, forgiveness and salvation. That’s what it means to “go for the gold!”

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A fool and his money are soon parted.


Back in the late 1800’s there was a wrestler in Europe known as “Yusuf, the terrible Turk.” He weighed about 350 pounds and was the undisputed champ. In 1898 he sailed to America to take on it’s champ, a man named “Strangler” Lewis. Even though he only weighed 200 pounds he beat much larger opponents by putting them in a choke hold and then pinning them after they passed out.
That didn’t work with Yusuf. The way he was built he had no neck to speak of and the “Strangler” quickly lost. The Turk demanded his prize of $5,000 be paid in gold which he stuffed inside his big belt for safe keeping. On the way back to England the ship sank and Yusuf ended up in the water. The gold in his belt weighed him down and he sank like a rock before he could get into a life boat. His great riches destroyed him. Greed cost him his life. A fool and his money are soon parted.
God, in his Word, warns us against greed and the love of money over and over again. In Matthew Jesus condemns the Pharisees for it. He calls them hypocrites, clean on the outside but “full of greed….” on the inside. (Mt 23:25). In Mark Jesus sets greed right beside many other sins which he says are evil and defile a person. “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.
Jesus gives us a good example of this in the parable of the Rich Fool found in Luke 12:13-21. Jesus was approached by a man who had a dispute with his brother over an inheritance. He wanted Jesus to settle it for him. Instead, Jesus speaks to the real problem. It was greed.
In the parable a man is blessed with such a bountiful crop he knew his barns would not hold it. He decides to  build bigger barns and then he’d have it made. He says he will “take life easy, eat, drink and be merry.”
His problem was not in building bigger barns or planning for the future. It was his greed. His heart was set on his possessions and in them he trusted. They are what brought him joy and peace. God was not in the picture. That was his problem. He saw no need to plan for the life to come and standing before the judgment seat of God. He had much in this life but would spend eternity in hell.
One of the dangers we face today is secularism. It is the movement which strips all aspects of religion from one’s life. There is no room for worship, prayer, serving the Lord and others. There is no thought of what will happen when one dies and is judged by the Creator.

Slowly but surely secularism can creep into our heart and lives. The end result we will be lost. Every day, we need to keep our focus on the Lord. Thank him for his blessings. Pray often. Read the Bible and worship faithfully. Serve the Lord with all your heart. Keep your focus on the life to come. Only then will you be seen as wise in God’s eyes. Only then will you be prepared for the day your life ends here on this earth. 

What if you could have anything you wanted?


Once upon a time, a rich man threw a wild party. About midnight, he brought all his guests out to his pool, which he had filled with man-eating sharks, and said “If anyone can swim across the pool to the other side, you can have the pick of my ranch, a million dollars or my daughter’s hand in marriage. Your choice!” No sooner had he spoke these words when a young man began to frantically swim from one end to the other. He emerged from the other end of the pool all cut up but alive. The host, quite surprised that anyone would take him up on his offer, asked the man what he wanted – a million dollars, his ranch, or his daughter’s hand in marriage. The young man said he wanted none of them. “Well, what do you want,” he asked, “I will give it to you if I can?” To this, the young man replied, “I just want to know the name of the person who pushed me into the pool.”
What if the Lord came to you and said, “I will give you whatever you want and you don’t need to swim across a shark filled pool to get it? You can have anything your heart desires.” What would you wish for? That would be a tough decision, especially if we had to make it right away.
Many years ago, the Lord came to a man named Solomon and made him this very offer. God came to Solomon shortly after he had ascended to the throne of the nation of Israel. Solomon could have asked for riches, success over his enemies, a long life or the winning numbers for the lottery.  Solomon chose none of these things. Instead he asked for wisdom. Listen to what he said, “But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (I Kings 3:8-9)
Solomon asks for A DISCERNING HEART. In the Hebrew it is literally A HEART THAT HEARS. Not just hears the sounds of the words but listens to them, understands them and is then able to know how best to handle the situation. Solomon demonstrated this gift on many occasions. In fact, he became famous throughout the world for his wisdom. A great many of his proverbial sayings are recorded for us by God in Scripture.
What would you ask for if God made you an offer like the one he made to Solomon? If we had only one wish, it would be tough. Thank God we have no such limits. Jesus’ invitation is open ended. “Ask, and it will be given to you!” (Matthew 7:7) This invitation is offered only to God’s children, to believers. Believers know that when we pray, we submit our requests to God for review. We often add the words, “Thy will, not mine be done.” We should not pray selfishly, set our heart on worldly things such as money, power, or glory.

We learn from Solomon that we should ask the Lord for the gifts we need to do the work God has set before us. When we ask God for love, joy, peace, comfort, support, forgiveness, etc., we know God is pleased with such requests and will gladly answer them. Jesus says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt 6:33)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Who is Jesus?

Written by Pastor Stuppy
June 22, 2016

I don’t know how you feel but I think this is one of the strangest political years I have ever seen. On the one side you have former Secretary of the State, Hilary Clinton, a woman who is being investigated by the FBI, who is not considered to be honest and trustworthy even by those who support her. Then on the other side you have business man Donald Trump who has struck a note with many Americans who are angry with the establishment in Washington DC and yet his offensive rhetoric and lack of detailed plans makes even those of his own party think he is unfit for the presidency and are unwilling to support him. Yet they are the presumptive nominees for their party so each has support from a lot of people. Two individuals – each seen by others in so many different ways of who each one is and what they will do if elected.
I get the feeling from reading Scripture that the same was true of Jesus. If you asked people about him, you would get a lot of different answers. In fact, Jesus did ask this question of the disciples. Their response bore this out. Some thought he was John the Baptist. Others, a rabbi or simply the son of Joseph the carpenter.
When Jesus asked the disciples who they thought he was, Peter replied. “You are the Christ” (Lk 9:20). Peter was right. Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Christ. Jesus was the one promised by God to be the Savior. He came not to save Israel from its political foes but from sin, death and hell. He came not to save only Israel but all of humanity. His work as our Savior, his suffering and death on the cross, his resurrection were to take place soon. Jesus wanted his disciples to be ready.
Jesus’ question of his disciples is just as important today as it once was. “Who do you say that I am?” How would you answer it? A great prophet! An amazing teacher! The Son of God and Savior of mankind? How you answer that question is important. It determines how you will live your life here on earth and where you will spend eternity.
It doesn’t matter what others think or say. What matters is what you believe. Do you believe that you are a sinner, lost and condemned because of those sins? Do you believe that no matter how good you look in your eyes or in the eyes of others, you are a sinner through and through in God’s eyes? Do you believe there is nothing you can do to take those sins away or make up for them? Do you believe your only hope of forgiveness and salvation is Jesus Christ? Great! Worry no longer! Jesus took care of your sins. They are gone. Jesus died so you might live. Jesus endured the pain and torment of hell so you could spend eternity in heaven.
All this is God’s gift to you. “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23) It’s summed up well by Jesus in John 6:40. “For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day." (NIV)

“Who do you say that I am?” May your answer be the same as Peter’s. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior, my Savior! – Savior of the world! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

The greatest sermon ever preached!


If you go on the internet and do a search based on the word “greatest,” you can find all sorts of things. One site had the greatest quotes ever made. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” “You are what you eat.” were near the top of the list. Greatest quarterback? It listed Terry Bradshaw as the greatest. That’s when I knew that these lists were very subjective. Everyone knows that Roger Staubach was the best.
I did a search for the greatest sermons ever preached. Google took me to a book being offered for sale by Amazon. (Surprise!) On the cover they listed a few of the names. I was not surprised to see Billy Graham at the top of the list. Old time preachers like Billy Sunday and John Wesley made the list. So did Mother Teresa and Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. My name wasn’t there. While disappointed I thought I might be included under the phrase at the end of the list. It said, “and many others.”
This week I told several people that if they wanted to hear the “greatest sermon ever preached” they should come to our church Sunday. If they come, that is what they will hear,- “The greatest sermon every preached.” But it was not preached by me. I am not that good, far from it. It was preached by someone long ago. I will just read it to the congregation.
The sermon I am referring to was the one given by the angel to the women outside Jesus’ grave on Easter morn. It is found in Matthew 28 verse 6. It reads, “He is not here. He has risen, just as he said.”
The women had come to the sepulcher of Jesus early Easter morning to finish the job they had started on Good Friday afternoon, the burial of their good friend and Lord, Jesus.
A lot had taken place the last few days. All of it set the stage for the angel’s powerful sermon. Jesus had been arrested on Thursday evening. He was shuttled back and forth early Friday morning between Caiphas, Pilate, and Herod. Pilate found him guilty of nothing yet sentenced him to death by crucifixion.
Friday afternoon, the women had seen Jesus hang on the cross,, suffering a cruel death while innocent of any crimes. What was not seen was that Jesus was being held responsible for the sins of the whole world. God’s wrath, his need for justice was being poured out on his Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus cried out, “It is finished” and gave up his life, our salvation was complete.
The resurrection of the Lord was God’s announcement to the world, to us, and to the women who had come to the grave that the victory had been won. The power of sin, death and the devil had been broken, our salvation secure.
That’s the sermon that was preached to the women. The tomb was empty. The angel proclaimed,, “He is not here. He has risen just as he said.” It truly was the greatest ever preached.”


Monday, March 14, 2016

Christ Promises Success

No one can argue with success. Success breeds success. Proverbs and quotable quotes about success keep multiplying all the time. A pessimist can complain about virtually anything -- except success.We all want to be successful. We all want to be recognized as a success by our friends. But what is success? Is it wealth, power or self-fulfillment? Is it happiness or status? Is it recognition or simply the reaching of one’s goal? Is it all of the above or none of it at all?
Everyone wants to be successful, even Christians. There is nothing wrong with that. As a church we pray for the success of a new mission congregation. We pray for success when someone enters surgery or for a safe delivery of a child when a woman goes into labor.
For one person success might be making the honor roll and for another it might be making it through school. For others it might be making it through the day. Success for the child of God, though it may involve money, power, and happiness can never be judged only in those terms. For Christians, success is not to be found in the eyes of our neighbors who look at us and our lives. It is not to be measured by the number of initials and degrees behind our name nor by the amount of money one has in the bank. It must rather be judged at how God looks at our lives.
Remember when the people stood and scoffed at the dying Jesus. That day was a crowning success to Jesus' 30 year life. But only God knew it at the time. To everyone else he seemed to be a failure. And remember King David's success in gaining his neighbor's wife, Bathsheba. God made it clear through his prophet Nathan that David had suddenly became a miserable failure.
Let's never be fooled into thinking that momentary gains are what success is about. Psalm 1 reminds us that success begins with our attitude toward God. Success involves our attitude toward the way of life that God has mapped out for us in his Word, the Bible.
Psalm one also makes a promise. It says that those who find their joy in studying and obeying the Lord's Word will "succeed in everything they do."
Do you want to be successful? Why not try God's way; after all he offers you an unconditional guarantee of success. Turn to God and his Word. Pick up your Bible and read it. Learn of God's will for your lives. Learn of what he has done for you in Christ. Go to his house for worship. Bend your knee in prayer at his altar. Do this and you can find what so many others are striving so hard to get - success! It is available to everyone who turns to the Lord. In fact, it is guaranteed!


Sunday, February 28, 2016

HAVE YOU GIVEN UP SOMETHING FOR LENT?


What are you giving up for Lent? That's a question that you don't hear so often today.  As a child, I recall it being said many times. People made a point of giving up something for the duration of the Lenten season. Some decided to forsake sweets or their favorite food. Others decided to stop smoking during Lent.
The idea of giving up something for Lent is tied to the act of making a sacrifice. Making a sacrifice during Lent, as small as it might be, may help to remind an individual of the tremendous sacrifice that our Lord made for us on the cross at Calvary. 
When Jesus died on the cross, he made the greatest and the perfect sacrifice. He is the Lord, the creator of heaven and earth. And yet he allowed sinful, mortal men to beat him, spit on him, humiliate him, and finally to crucify him. A mere thought on Jesus’ part and his enemies would be vanquished.
We cannot truly comprehend the sacrifices that Jesus made for us. We may be able to imagine what it would be like to live in a run down, dilapidated old house in a dangerous part of town. But, can we ever imagine what it would be like to give up the glory and bliss of heaven for a life on this earth? We may be able to imagine what it would be like to be in a situation where we would feel helpless. But, can we imagine what it was like for Jesus, the all powerful God who has every angel at his beck and call, to not make use of those powers so that his enemies could bind and beat him, mock him and crucify him?
Understanding what Jesus went through is even more difficult when it comes to the guilt and punishment of sin. When Jesus came to this earth until he died at Calvary, Jesus bore the guilt and shame of ALL sins, for ALL people, for ALL time. They were on his shoulders, placed there by his Father. Isaiah tells us that "the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Is 53:6)  In verse five, Isaiah says, "But he was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities...."  I can't imagine what that must have been like for our Lord to go through all of this.  We only get an indication of what it must have been like when Jesus cried out on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mt 27:46)

Yes, Jesus' sacrifice was so complete, so amazing, so wonderful, that it is impossible for us to fully understand and appreciate all that he did for us. If giving up something for Lent helps us to focus on what Jesus did for you, great! We must never lose sight of our Savior’s amazing love for sinners and the sacrifice he made for us. To God be the glory.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jesus’ amazing march to Jerusalem!


About 2,000 years ago a young man walked into the history books when he led his army on a 1,000 mile march from Greece all the way to India. If you wanted to travel that far in the US, you would have to travel from here to Milwaukee. Then you would have to get home again. This march wasn’t just impressive because it was so long but because it was unstoppable. Alexander didn’t just travel over 1,000 miles he fought his way. There was not a foe that could stop him. The only reason he didn’t go farther was that his soldiers became homesick and wanted to go back to Greece.
Alexander’s march was far-reaching in another way; some 2,300 years later it still affects us today. That’s remarkable when you consider the fact that Alexander never set foot in the United States. What happened was that he took the Greek culture and language wherever he went. The result was that it became the standard for the world much like English culture has today. Many of the words we use, like biology, philosophy, telephone, and microscope. Signs of the Greek culture can be found in almost every aspect of our life, from architecture to government. What’s even more impressive is that Alexander did all this by the age of 33. That’s why he is called Alexander the Great.
A little over 300 years after Alexander the Great died another remarkable 33 year old embarked on a march. Like Alexander’s march this one was unstoppable. While it was not nearly so long as Alex’s (only about 90 miles), it was far more important and far more difficult. It was the march or journey Jesus took from Galilee to Jerusalem and then on to the cross on Calvary.
As Jesus made his way from Galilee to Jerusalem for the last time, something unusual happened. We are told by Luke that the Pharisees told Jesus to leave Galilee for Jerusalem for Herod wanted to kill him. Herod and the Pharisees would get their shot at Jesus soon enough but not until Jesus was ready. He told the Pharisees “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.”
Jesus’ goal was to head to Jerusalem. He says, “In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day – for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem.” Each step he took brought him one step closer to the city where he would die.
So why did Jesus say he was going, “must go,” to Jerusalem. He was going there to die. We know the answer. It was his love for us sinners, his love for the lost. That’s why Jesus was marching to Jerusalem. Jesus knew what was going to happen. He knew the hatred that awaited him there. He knew all about the humiliation he would face. He understood the painful way he would die. He knew that his Father in heaven would heap on him the sins and guilt of all humanity. He knew the Father’s wrath would be poured out on his as well and he would endure the pain and torment of hell. Yet, Jesus kept going, going to Jerusalem and the cross. So great was his love for fallen mankind that he “must go” to the cross. Only then could his mission, the salvation of souls, be complete.

God’s love for you is still there. He loves us all, each and every one of us. In love he went to the cross. In love he comes to us through his Word with the message of salvation. In love he forgives our sin and gives us the gift of eternal life. Thank the Lord Jesus’ made that “march” 2,000 years ago. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

GOD MADE YOU "KEEPER OF THE FLAME."

January 30, 2008

If you have lived in the Hampton Roads area for any length of time, you have probably made a trip down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. One of the places many people go, while there, is Cape Hatteras to see the light house. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse was built in 1870 to warn ships of the dangerous shallows that lay off the coast. Over the past 400 years, over 300 ships have sunk in this small area known as “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.”
In the beginning, whale oil was used to produce the light then, gas vapor for a while. With the introduction of electric lights this beacon was equipped with a 1000 watt bulb that produced the light of 800,000 candles. Its light could be seen for 20 miles on a dark night.
When first built the light house was manned 365 days a year. For 129 years, 47,000 nights, its light shone without fail due to the faithfulness of those who manned it. They were called the “Keepers of the Flame.” It was their charge to keep the light lit lest ships run aground and lives be lost.
Several years ago this light house was moved several thousand feet inland to keep it from falling into the encroaching sea. It is now part of a national park and serves as a museum. It is wonderful to see but its original purpose, saving lives, is no longer being fulfilled.
In the Scriptures, the Lord often refers to salvation, faith, righteousness, as light. On the other hand, death, hell, and unbelief are associated with darkness. In 2 Corinthians 4:6 we read, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In I Peter 2:9 we are told that God “called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” In Matthew 5 God tells us that we are the light of the world.
The bottom line is that God has given every Christian a purpose. Our purpose is to let the light of the gospel message of salvation shine forth in a world darkened by sin and unbelief. What we do, how we live, what we say should be a testimony to our Lord and Savior.
God did not put us on this earth simply to grow up, go to school, have a family and finally retire. We are here to save souls. We are the Lord’s “Keepers of the Flame.” If we are not mindful of that responsibility, we have lost our purpose. Jesus says that it is like putting a light under a bushel basket. What good is it?
Be a faithful keeper of the flame. Ask God to give you a strong faith, to let your light shine so that people will be drawn to the Savior, Jesus Christ, the Light of the world – to the glory and praise of God.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

WORSHIP SERVICE CANCELED DUE TO DANGEROUS ROAD CONDITIONS - JAN. 24TH

The greatest miracle of all – the gift of God’s Son.

I would like you to pretend, for a moment, that you are an angel. (Now, I know those closest to you might find that hard to believe, but, remember, this is just pretend.)
You’re an angel living in heaven before the time Jesus was born. You’ve been given an assignment by God. The Lord asked you to serve on a special committee. He asks the committee to pick out one miracle to be done on earth and gives the following instructions: ”I want it to be special. It needs to convey my love for the people of the world. It needs to be unforgettable and something that will help everyone.” 
After some discussion, one angel says, “How about raising someone from the dead? Or maybe raising a whole cemetery? That will get their attention.” God says, “Not big enough.” Another angel says, “Make enough food to feed the whole world.”  “No.” God says, “I’m already doing that. Another angel says, “How about curing every one of their illnesses and diseases?”  “That would help a lot of people.” God says, “But, it wouldn’t be long and they would forget I had done it. I’ve seen that sort of thing happen too many times.”
Then an angel says, “How about sending your Son into the world to save the world from sin. He could become one of them. He could suffer and die for them so they might believe in him and have eternal life.”
We know that the angels didn’t come up with the plan of salvation. God devised it or set it up long before the world was created or Adam and Eve had fallen into sin. Nor was the birth of God’s Son the first miracle that God ever performed.
God has done some great miracles in the past.  He created the earth and universe in which we live.  He caused the great flood of Noah’s day which wiped a rebellious people from the earth. He delivered the Israelites from Egypt with ten amazing plagues and then he divided the Red Sea so Israel could cross safely and closed it up on the pursuing armies of the Egyptians.
But, let us never forget that the first and greatest miracle that God has done.  It was the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ as our Savior.  God came into the flesh, to be one of us, to save us from our sins.   God, the maker and ruler of the universe, left the glories of heaven to become one of us, to live with us, and to die for us.  Then he rose from dead and ascended into heaven. He has promised to come back on Judgment Day to judge the living and the dead. “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. He that believes not shall be damned.” (Mk 16:16.) 
God has the power to do as many miracles as he wants. But, what miracle could be greater than the gift of his own Son as our Savior. It proclaims his love for us. It is unforgettable. It is meant to help everyone.