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November 29, 2020 12:31 am
Merry Christmas! I know, with everything going on in our world this year this Christmas Season comes with several emotions for many of us. But as we begin this Christmas series with Lt. Colonel Eddie Hobgood, he shares with us that Christmas is a time to remember, EMMANUEL, God is still with us.
Hi this is breathing welcome to the Salvation Army's words of life and what about the words of life.
I'm pretty day and I'm Cheryl Gail and Cheryl, are you excited that it's Christmas time.
My goodness, I can't even wait. This is a special time of year and I'm kind of a flyby. My seat-of-the-pants person okay are you an early proper. Well, you know, I mean right after Thanksgiving like we are right now you now all starts in that kind of thing, but this year I started watching Hallmark movies ahead of time. November 1 getting in the spirit. Absolutely I can hear the sleigh bells right now.
He listens and we began our five-week Christmas series with Lieut. Col. Eddie Hobgood if you missed last week's episode.
We had the chance to speak to him about his heart behind the series and is prayer for those who are listening. This is a special series for us because our friend Eddie is bilingual in English and Spanish and he sharing the same series on words of life's Spanish counterpart allowed us the reader.
Have you listened to a little Cheryl. Don't you have a little with the Spanish in your life.
Listen we were appointed to Hispanic core while in our in our career as officers in the Texas in Texas yes Dallas Oak Cliff was bilingual core and then McAllen Texas right on the border. Nice. I think for all of our listeners. We hope that however you hear what we have to present for your words of life that you will be blessed. It's our privilege to come and share with you these things each week so we pray that God will richly bless you as you listen yesterday then the gifts don't come out with those ribbons and towing them to abandon some just needs like food or shelter and those can be the most precious year with 11 rescue Christmas for the spacing 25,000 monthly knives.
I'm Salvation Army Merry Christmas well is not here just yeah I'm one of those people who think it's never too early to start getting ready. If my wife would let me. We would keep Christmas tree up all year long.
I even find myself singing Joy to the world in the middle of July. My wife has a collection of miniature nativity scenes that she displays in our home all year long. So that has become our compromise on when I need my Christmas fixed.
I look at the shelf full of nativity scenes, but I'm not here today to talk about trees and Christmas carols and nativity scenes.
I want to share story that I don't think we normally read it Christmas, but I believe there's truth in the story for us today. It's the story of Rhoda who Rhoda now wrote is not a very well-known person in the Bible as a matter fact she's only mentioned in this one incident. But what happened to her and those with her I think is very applicable to that first Christmas, as well as this present Christmas in the New Testament in the book of acts chapter 12 verses 12 through 17 we meet Rhoda a girl who worked in the house of Mary the mother of John Mark, a group of Christ followers had come to Mary's home to pray for the apostle Peter. Peter had been put into prison by Herod, and most likely was going to be put to death because Herod had just killed James brother John now because of the prayers of these Christ followers.
God sent an angel to Peter and led him out of the prison without anyone noticing it. Peter went directly to Mary's house and knocked on the door.
Now the believers were in the middle of this great prayer meeting pleading with God to let Peter go and Rhoda is sent to see who was knocking at the door. She recognizes Peter's voice but rather than opening the door and letting him in. She runs back to the group to tell them that Peter was there that their prayers had been answered, but rather the believe that God had answered their prayers, the Christ followers told her she was crazy.
There's no way it's Peter.
They said that if it really is Peter. It has to be is ghost implying that Herod had most likely already executed Peter and while all of this was going on inside the house for Peter was standing outside the door knocking and asking if someone would just let him in the house. The time between the in the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament is about 400 years, and for these 400 years God had been silent towards the Israelites during this time Israel had been occupied by the Persian, Greek, Egyptian and Roman empires and the Israelites found themselves crying, praying and pleading with God to speak to send the Redeemer, the Messiah, who had been promised to set them free from their bondage and after 400 years of praying, God answered those prayers and he sent Jesus. Luke chapter 2 tells us the beautiful story of how he came of how the angel saying, glory to God of how the shepherds were the first to hear and worship him. How later the Magi came and brought him great gifts. What about the rest of the world that have been crying out to God for centuries to be delivered in the book of John chapter 1 verse 11 it says he Jesus came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. They were praying and praying and praying and what God did what they were asking when he showed up at their front door and not. They didn't believe it was him there been a number of pictures painted over the years of Jesus standing outside her door knocking asking to be let in. One of the most famous is William Holman Hunt's painting called light of the world. In this painting we see Jesus holding a lantern and knocking on a door that has no handle the weeds and vines have grown over the door indicating that it hasn't been opened ever, or at least in a very long time. And Jesus is waiting for the person on the other side to open the door and let them in. Christmas is always a fresh reminder that God is knocking at our heart's door that he has come to his people that he's heard our cries and if we would only open the door of our hearts, we would see him see that he has come to set us free from that which has us bound every year.
We look forward to Christmas coming in as believers in Christ. The church does this through Advent word Advent means coming. It's a time where we prepare for and remember why Jesus came into the world. Far too often today, we have allowed the secular trappings of Christmas, the parties, the gift giving the emphasis on shopping to really overshadow the why of Christmas and when that happens it's as though we have shut the door on Christ. He's back on the other side, knocking and knocking and waiting and waiting for someone to open the door and let him into his own party is not a part of Christmas.
He is not one of the reasons we have Christmas. He is Christmas and when we don't make Christmas all about him. We left him outside knocking at the door asking to be let in my prayer for you this Christmas is that you will hear that knock not knocking of Jesus Emmanuelle God is with us and open your heart's door to him. God bless the Salvation Army's mission doing the most good means helping people with material and spiritual needs to become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army visit Salvation Army USA.org to offer your support and love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-229-9965, write us at PO Box 29972, Atlanta, GA 30359 tell us how we can help share prayer request or share your testimony. Would love to use your story on here. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes podcast store and surely give us a rating search for the Salvation Army's words of life.
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