The following was taught and prayed through during our 6 a.m. prayer time with Terry Nyenhuis

1 Tim 2:1-4

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The General’s
Christmas Challenge
By Pastor George Pearsons

Gen. William Booth is not a familiar name to most. He was a military man, of sorts. His arsenal was not stocked with rifles and cannons, but rather with Bibles, food, clothing and the message of salvation. He was a soldier of The LORD.

In the early days of his ministry, the Rev. William Booth was a prominent Methodist evangelist. He majored on the necessity of repentance and the promise of God’s love and redemption for all mankind.

Returning late one cold evening from an evangelistic service, Booth took notice of the poor sleeping under the London Bridge and was overcome with compassion. At that moment, he knew he had to do something to help the homeless.

The LORD called, and Booth answered.

The Salvation Army was born

In 1865 he and his wife, Catherine, opened The Christian Revival Society in the East End of London. There, they conducted services every evening and on Sundays, ministering to society’s most needy, including alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes.

Soon after, they established “Food for the Million” soup kitchens. Large bowls of soup and bread were offered to the poor. Lodging houses provided the homeless with a safe haven from the bitter winters.

In 1878, the name of the organization was changed to “Salvation Army.” It was modeled after the military, complete with its own flag, uniforms and marching bands. The “soldiers” would “put on the armor” for evangelistic meetings and ministry work.

William Booth became known as “The General.”

The army grew rapidly. Operations spread all over the world—the United States, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, New Zealand and Jamaica—58 countries in all. Booth preached more than 60,000 sermons and traveled some 5 million miles.

No small task for one man. And certainly no small army to keep motivated and inspired.

Christmas was always the most demanding time of the year, and 1911 was no different. Everyone, it seemed, needed extra help. That is why Booth would send a telegram to his “soldiers” every Christmas Eve. His annual message was always a welcome encouragement to the weary servants of God.

A Word to Encourage

This Christmas, however, would be Booth’s last on earth. He went home to heaven the following year. How significant this final Christmas Eve communication would turn out to be.

He sat down to compose the telegram.

A paragraph of heartfelt words flowed from his pen. Surely, the troops would be uplifted by his Christmas charge. But, upon realizing the cost of the telegram, and driven by his passion to minister to as many as possible, he began to edit his message.

The paragraph became three sentences. Then, one sentence.

Booth kept writing and editing, struggling to summarize his yearly charge in three words. Even at that, three words were still too many.

Finally, he decided to send only one word. One word to inspire an entire army to win souls, feed the hungry and provide shelter on this Christmas Eve.

Finally, that one word came. The word that would help his troops make it through the night.

It was simply the word…others.

What was born in Booth’s heart after seeing the homeless became a lifetime of service to others.

The soldiers of the Salvation Army were inspired on that Christmas Eve in 1911. They carried on their work with bravery, courage and especially compassion. They were able to take their eyes off themselves and meet the needs of… others.

As we celebrate this holy season and worship the King of kings, let us reach out to others in a fresh, loving and compassionate way.

Let others be our mission.
Let others be our purpose.
Let others be our passion.
After all, “For God so loved [others] that he
gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

May your Christmas season be filled with joy, celebration and…others!

Galatians 5:6 Amplified Bible (AMPC)
6 For [if we are] in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but only faith activated and expressed and working through love.

James 2:14-26 AMPC
What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]? If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day, And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?

1 John 4:18 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].

We came against the spirit of fear – the opposite of faith that keeps us from walking in love towards “others”.

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