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Archive for the ‘Portraits Of Christ Followers Throughout History’ Category

St. Nick

 

 

I really starting thinking about Saint Nicholas, when my son Ty, recently asked me if Santa Claus was real. Ty had just turned 12 the day before and I could tell that he really wanted the truth. I hesitated for a brief moment, not wanting to see my youngest child grow up, but decided to tell him the truth, which brought up the subject of Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas was born around AD 270 in Patara, Lycia, in Asia Minor. He was born and raised by christian parents, who modeled for him lives surrendered to God.

Nicholas lived a life centered on Jesus. He cared for those in need and worked to bring justice in his sphere of influence. When Nicholas was a young man, his parents died, leaving him a wealthy young man. Instead of blowing the inheritance on himself, he chose to use the money to glorify God and help those in need. There are many legends of his generosity.

In AD 300, at the age of 30 he was made a Bishop in the town of Myra, in Asia Minor (the town is now known as Demre, Turkey). This was the time of persecution of the church and Bishop Nicholas, being an outspoken christian was tortured, arrested, and imprisoned with other Christians. He was eventually released when the christian Constantine came to power.

He was said to have been present in the council of Nicaea, in AD 325. He was said to have destroyed pagan temples, leaving evil spirits howling before him. Saint Nicholas was known for his generous heart and his unwavering support of those who were struggling with the injustice of the world.

Bishop Nicholas died in AD 343, but his legacy continues:

Saint Nicholas is the original Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas is known for sneaking coins into the shoes of children as they slept. To honor this gift giving Saint, December 6th has become Saint Nicholas day, to celebrate the day of his birth. Parents in many European countries still observe Saint Nicholas day, by placing small gifts, chocolates and other sweets in the shoes of their children on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day.

Over time, this tradition has evolved into the legend of Santa Claus and has become the focus of the Christmas season.

Santa Claus is about commercialism of the season. Saint Nicholas was all about Jesus and he would want our focus at this time of the year to be on Jesus and giving to those in need.

I shared the story of Saint Nicholas with Ty, along with the most important gift we have all been given, the gift of eternal life with God, when we receive the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Jesus gave us the most important gift we will ever be given: His life. It is all about Jesus and that is the way Saint Nicholas would have wanted it.

In this Christmas season, remember Jesus and make that decision to accept Him into your heart. I am here to walk you through this most important decision you will ever make.

I obtained the information on Saint Nicholas from http://www.stnicholascenter.org.

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george mueller

George Mueller was an amazing man of God, prayer and faith. It has been 115 years since his death and his life is still used as an example of true christian living. The book “George Mueller Of Bristol And His Witness To A Prayer-Hearing God” written by Arthur T. Pierson, is a must read for every christian. I have read it twice and will be reading it again. The book looks into every area of George Mueller’s life and faith and gives us a boat load of practical practices to implement in our own lives. Below are some of the characteristics the George Mueller embodied that led to his spiritual success:

1. Missionary Spirit- He was willing to follow God wherever and whenever God led. Mr. Mueller was a pastor, opened orphan houses that provided homes for thousands of children, and he traveled in his later years as an evangelist. He never had a “stable” income, trusting God for provision.

2. Renunciation Of Self- He was always analyzing his spirit for any signs of the flesh coming through. He was diligent about putting his agenda aside and focusing on what God wanted him to do.

3. Taking Counsel Of God- Mr. Mueller always consulted God first. In every situation, when a decision needed to be made, when provisions were needed, George was on his knees in prayer, asking God to reveal His will.

4. Humble And Childlike Temper- George was a role model of humility. He never thought of himself first, always thinking of the other person. He was known for his patience, love, kindness and compassion.

5. Cutting Loose From Man- Mr. Mueller did not ask any man for financial or any other type of support. He went to God alone to provide what they needed. He trusted God to work in the hearts of those He chose to provide for the needs of the ministry.

6. Satisfaction In The Word- He knew that the Bible was the Word of God. He found peace in knowing that God provided His Word as a guide to daily living.

7. Thorough Bible Study-┬áHe knew the Word inside and out. He was a lifetime student of God’s Word. He not only studied the Word, but applied what he read to his life.

8. Freedom From Human Control- George did not allow himself to be controlled or manipulated by humans. He did not seek the approval of humans, only the approval of God.

9. Use Of Opportunity: Approaching Others As To Matters Of Salvation- George was always open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He was always open to the opportunities to reach out to others with the Gospel of Jesus.

10. Knowledge Of The Second Coming- Mr. Mueller was aware that Jesus is going to return at some point. Every one of of his ministries was used to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus.

11. Waiting On God For A Message- Mr. Mueller never acted of his own accord. He waited on God in all things. There were many times when God’s answer did not come until the very last minute. He never acted in disbelief. He always trusted God for an answer to his prayers.

12. Submission To The Authority Of The Word- God’s Word was the final authority in everything that Mr. Mueller did. He did not make any decisions without seeking God’s will through the Word. He would research the Bible inside and out until he found what God’s will was on a particular issue.

13. Surrender Of All Earthly Possessions- He did not consider anything he owned as his. It ALL belonged to God. If someone was in need of something that he had, he would give it freely.

14. Habit Of Secret Prayer- George spent hours on his knees in prayer. He prayed in isolation, using the time to focus on God and discern God’s will in daily matters.

15. Guarding Of His Testimony- George was very careful to make sure his reputation and testimony were not tarnished by sin. His daily goal was to live a righteous life as an example for others. He did not want anything that he did to become an obstacle in another person’s walk with God.

16. Organizing Of His Work- Mr. Mueller always maintained that the ministries he ran were not his, but God’s. If they ever ceased to glorify God, he would have closed them down immediately.

17. Sympathy With Orphans- Mr. Mueller had a God-given passion for orphans. I believe that this passion was extended to those who were “orphans” in their sin, as well as, children. God does not wish for any to be lost. George was a shepherd, in the truest definition of the word.

18. Allowing Himself To Be Molded By The Potter- He never stopped being a student of God’s. He was always seeking God’s guidance in matters of the heart. He was always seeking a revealing of any characteristics that were not Christ-like. Even in his later years, he still allowed God to mold his character.

19. Simple Living- George lived very simply. He only prayed for his basic needs to be met. If God blessed him with a surplus in resources, he would give the surplus away.

20. Giving Generously- He gave generously of any surplus resources he had. He believed in giving to those in need and did without himself, so that others would not have to suffer.

There is so much that we can learn from George Mueller. I really try to live these characteristics out in my daily life. It is an ongoing journey and I don’t always live up to the standard Mr. Mueller set.

I encourage you to read the book. It would be a great book for a group Bible- study. There is so much more wisdom and guidance from the life of George Mueller in the book. READ IT!!!

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