Month: Dec 2013
Video Posted on Updated on
As you watch this video, ask yourself, “What does Christmas mean to me?” I believe that the greatest blessings of Christmas are experienced in the giving, not the getting. Christmas is not about the brightly colored lights, the lit Christmas trees, or even the packages under the tree. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of the Savior and Redeemer of the world – the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of being overly concerned about whether we will receive that special gift that we have hoped for, let us turn our focus heavenward, and give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the greatest gift ever given to humanity – the precious gift of His Only Begotten Son. There is no gift that can compare to this unspeakable gift. Merry Christmas!
Elder David James Archuleta is currently serving a two-year full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile. He is scheduled to return home from his mission on 28 March 2014. On, Saturday, 14 December 2013, Elder Archuleta was one of the participants in a Christmas concert held at the Santiago Temple. You can watch the live stream of the concert in Spanish on LDS.org here.
Elder Archuleta sang Sus Manos (His Hands) for his zone’s Christmas Musical Devotional on 1 December 2013 in Buin, the northern edge of the mission. In the picture above, he put his finger on his lips to politely tell someone to “shhh”
Elder David Archuleta had a huge concert on 10 December 2013. It was a public event similar to last year, however, this time he performed with a Mormon and Christian chorus. It was necessary to have body guards because the Christmas Concert was at Constitution Square, opposite La Moneda Palace – the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile.
As a boy growing up in a Baptist home, I was raised on the principles of the Holy Bible – the Word of God. I was taught that the real reason we celebrate the Christmas season is not because of the brightly colored lights, the beautifully decorated houses and trees, or even the packages under the tree. I was taught that Christmas is the time of year when we remember the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ – the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I was taught that it is His birthday, not mine, and so my focus should be on Him, and not my own selfish desires as I anticipate if I got that one special gift that I asked for. I was taught that Jesus Christ – the Son of the True and Living God – the Light and the Life of the world – is the best gift given to humanity by the Father Himself. He gave to the world His Only Begotten Son. There is no GREATER gift.
It is for those reasons that at this time of year, I am forever amazed, and perhaps I shouldn’t be, at the number of people who claim to take offense when the two little words “Merry Christmas” are spoken. What is it that offends them so much? People have no problem with someone saying “Happy Kwanzaa” or “Happy Hanukkah”, but yet “Merry Christmas” supposedly offends them. It seems to be the politically correct thing to say “Happy Holidays” which the average person can accept without any objection. Personally, I say that it is yet another ploy to take the name of CHRIST out of EVERYTHING.
I make no apologies to anyone for choosing not to be politically correct. I choose. as a Christian, to stand up for what I believe. Everyone is free to express their holiday greetings as they see fit, but as for me and my house, We Wish You A Merry Christmas! And if that should offend someone, well what more can I say? In the words of the Dickens’ character, Tiny Tim, God bless us everyone!
|Key Verses: John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:16 is a very familiar Scripture verse to all of us. For some of us, this is the very first verse of Scripture that we ever committed to memory. Many Sunday school lessons and sermons have been based on this passage of Scripture. The entire Gospel message can be summarized with these words — “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son . . .” Let us take a few moments and look at three important principles taught in this passage of Scripture.
First, let us notice our Heavenly Father’s great love toward us. His love is an unselfish and an unconditional love. So many times we place conditions on our love for others — I love you when; I will love you if; or I love you because. All too many times our love is reserved for that group of people who fit into our little clique or who have a certain social status. Those who do not live up to our standards or requirements are often despised and rejected. However, our loving Heavenly Father is no respecter of persons. He loves both the righteous and the unrighteous. “For God so loved the world. . .”
Second, let us notice our Heavenly Father’s love in action. “For God so loved the world that he gave. . .” There are certain times of the year such as Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries when the spirit of giving seems to be magnified more than at any other particular times of the year. During those times shopping malls and department stores are full of people running about trying to choose that just right gift for that special loved one or friend. Many people will even go into great debt to bring happiness to those that they love. However, the fact remains that we cannot put a price tag on true love. If we truly love someone, we must show it by our actions. We must be willing to give of ourselves. We must be willing to give up something that we hold dear if need be. Our Heavenly Father demonstrated the greatest act of love ever known to man. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. . . ”
Third, let us notice the significance of our Heavenly Father’s gift of love to the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not peri sh, but have everlasting life.” God looked down upon this wicked world and saw the condition that humanity was in. Because of His great love and compassion for humanity, He desired that none of His children should perish and so He made a way possible for humanity to be saved from their sins and to be able to return to Him some day. This great unselfish act of love was made possible by the giving of the greatest gift of all to the world — the gift of His only begotten Son. Wrapped within that precious gift was yet another gift — the gift of eternal life. All that is required of humanity is to accept the gift by believing on the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He, who receives and accepts the gift of the Son, shall receive as his reward the gift of eternal life.
Of all the gifts that we may ever receive and are thankful for, may we always be found giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for His precious gift to the world, the Divine Gift of His Only Begotten Son – – – For There Is No Greater Gift!
|This message was originally prepared on Christmas Eve 1999 as a Christmas letter to my family and friends and was titled “The Greatest Gift of All” and is hereby revised as this is more than just a Christmas message. Though this message only focuses on John 3:16, a careful examination of the verses found in John 3:16-17 will show that these verses are the very central theme of the entire Gospel message. In these two verses truth is revealed about the purposes of the birth, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Of all the gifts ever given to humanity, there is no greater gift than that of God, our Heavenly Father, giving His Only Begotten Son to the world – to live humbly among men, to serve and not be served, to give His life as a ransom for all, and to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man through His Glorious Resurrection. Of all the testimonies that we give of Him, this is the greatest testimony that we give of Him – He lives! And because He lives, we too shall live, and we shall one day behold Him and know Him just as He is – our Lord, our Master, our Savior, and Our King.|
Today is National Pearl Harbor Day. On Sunday morning, 7 December 1941, at approximately 7:55 AM Hawaiian time (2:55 AM, Monday, 8 December 1941 in Japan), the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise military attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It would be this attack that would lead the United states into World War II.
The attack was intended as a preventative action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific fleet from interfering with military actions that the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. There were simultaneous Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but one were later raised, and six of the eight battleships returned to service and fought in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship,and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured. 
Almost three-quarters of a century has passed since these horrific events occurred. All of this took place 72 years ago, some 17 years before I was born. My mother was 4 years of age and my father was 6 years of age when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
While serving on active duty in the United States Navy (March 1981 – March 2001), I visited Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on several occasions and visited the sites where the events of that infamous day of 7 December 1941 occurred. I have also visited the Arizona Memorial and have always been reminded of the hefty price tag placed on the freedoms that we so dearly cherish. I humbly salute all men and women who have served and are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. I was officially and honorably retired from the United States Armed Forces on 1 September 2010.
Sunday morning, 7 December 1941 will always be, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated, “a date that will live in infamy.” As we remember and reflect upon the events of that day, I believe that the question we should ask ourselves is, “Can history repeat itself?” In some ways I believe that it can. How soon so many Americans have fallen asleep and forgotten the tragic events that occurred on our homeland shores on 11 September 2001. Lest We Forget. . . . Lest We Forget!
- December 7, 1941 – Never Forget (fggam.org)
- Pearl Harbor Day 2013: Never Forget (wtpotus.wordpress.com)
- Rare warplane that survived Pearl Harbor attack returning to U.S. (foxnews.com)
- December 7th, 1941: A Date That Will Live In Infamy (theobamacrat.com)
- Pearl Harbor: Its History and Impact (hawaii.answers.com)
- December 7, 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor! (endtimebibleprophecy.wordpress.com)
- AP WAS THERE: Japanese Attack On Pearl Harbor – NPR (npr.org)
- Survivors recall Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (wfaa.com)
- AP WAS THERE: Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor (abcnews.go.com)
If we are honest with ourselves, all of us have some spiritual “house cleaning” that we need to do. “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And I absolutely love Paul’s dissertation on the subject in Romans 3:24-26,
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Therefore, none of us have the God-given right to point fingers at anyone to pronounce them to be a “great sinner” when we are guilty of sin and stand in need of forgiveness. Furthermore, if we were to conduct a thorough spiritual inventory, we would also discover that within us is a tendency to be boastful and proud, and if we are not careful, we find ourselves standing in the place of the Pharisee and crying out, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:11,12). Instead, our spiritual attitude should reflect that of the publican, who “standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Thus, the Apostle Paul exhorts, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (Romans 3:27).
Each of us stand in the need of forgiveness. Remember the words of the Master. Said He, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). “Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also” (Romans 3:29).
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15).
– Corrie Ten Boom: How to Forgive
– James E. Faust: The Healing Power of Forgiveness