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Today is Christmas, and it is a time that we will be enjoying activities with our families. Remember those of our number who will still be unaccustomed to being without loved ones. Part of our family responsibility includes remembering others, who might be sad among us, making sure they are not forgotten, but encouraged.

Also today will be a day of worship together! I will be absent this morning, but here tonight. It will be a day filled with praise and honor to God, both when we are assembled, and when we are carrying Christ into our activities at home. I encourage you to worship from your heart, our glorious King. Songs have been written to remember his decision to obey God and become a man, his birth, his life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and return. So sing with the strength God gives you and open your heart to God.

Today is the first day of the week, and it was on this day that our Lord rose from the grave because death could not contain him, nor make him prisoner! Jesus came to face that death as a human. He was born of a woman. We will not forget him, but remember what has been done for us. We will give God all the praise and honor.

Let's lift voices together!

Our class on Wednesday night, with Chris Bishop, has been focused on idolatry, and all the variables to application in our lives.

On one occasion, Jesus was tempted with this very thing. The devil showed to him all the kingdoms of the world and said, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you will worship me, it will be yours" (Lk 4.5-7).

Jesus replied, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'"

Worship is totally reserved for God, and none other. We may construct things to worship, or bow down to angelic creatures, but there is not an ounce of worship that does not entirely belong to God. ALL worship is to be in honor of God, the maker of heaven and earth.

Today, you stand before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit within you is pointing you, through this word of Jesus, to worship and serve the God and Christ....and none other.

People who bow down to another, physically or figuratively, will all be treated the same. God alone deserves your heart's adoration today, and every day.

I spoke with Rod Rutherford, minister for the Gatlinburg church, today and I was asking about whether or not the church there, and the community, could benefit in some small way, from our clothes drive (planned for Africa) to be brought to them. He spoke about the churches of Christ disaster relief effort out of Nashville and said that they had brought in 3 semi trucks full of goods and supplies to distribute, to as many as had needs. Rod was praising the work effort and how it had brought a great deal of comfort to that community through the love of good people who want to serve Christ.

So, this means that we will stay with the intention of sending our clothes to Africa to help families there. Please be getting your stuff together and brought to the annex so we can be putting them together soon. Be thinking about banana boxes if you have opportunity.

God wants us to share things that we have (Heb 13.3; Rm 12.13). It is wonderful to be able to share God's love with others. God is not concerned with the amount.....it is the heart that He wants to be generous to others and trusting of Him.

God is blessing us!

Often the complaint from God against his people was that "there is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land" (Hos 4.1).

There are some, based on the results of the recent election, that feel like this is a time where America "gets another chance" to get back on the "right track." In other words, they feel like the atmosphere of the country and culture will be more "in line" with an "acknowledgment" of God in the land. If you believe the recent election has made, or will make, our society closer to an acknowledgment of God, then you should also feel a responsibility to this "opportunity" to openly practice your faith, boldly confess the Christ, and pursue conversation that leads people to Jesus.

The truth of the matter is that had our next President been Hillary Clinton, then our present culture would be just as conducive to these opportunities to show our faith, boldly confess the Christ, and pursue conversation that leads people to Jesus because all of these things are expected of us....NOT if the culture seems permissive, but because we are called to do these things by Jesus. If there be truth to an "existing advantage" presently, then we are only that much more accountable. God is ruling, and he has called us to serve him in any society, be it easy, or difficult.

“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

In our world of secular craziness, we need to read these words and ponder them very carefully.

* When the world just doesn't seem to make any sense, be still and know that Jesus is the truth and He will bring sanity to a sometimes insane existence (John 1:14).

* When it seems that everyone has turned against us, be still and know that the Lord promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6).

* When the storms of life (both physical and emotional) are raging about us, be still and know that God will be our shelter in any storm that the devil can throw at us (Romans 8:35-39).

* When the future looks dark and dim, be still and know that God is already there, and there is nothing that He doesn't know or can't handle (Psalm 139).

What a wonderful God we serve. Brethren, let us try to remember these things when life gets dark and dreary; when the days seem empty and long, when all seems to fail about us: Be still and know!

-Ben Thompson