‘Tis The Season… 2

When we think about traveling during the holidays, many things may cross our minds. The joy of seeing family and friends, the beauty of the journey… long lines at the airport, horrible traffic… Travel can be both a joy and a nightmare. Regardless, we do it out of love, wanting to be with those we care about during this blessed time.

But what if the government made you travel to the place you were born, where everyone was a stranger? What if you were required to go to the place of your ancestors, a destination that felt foreign? Imagine that upon arrival, your place of rest was unknown. What if you were pregnant and about to give birth, but the only means of transportation was on the rugged back of a donkey? Not exactly something you would be looking forward to.

So why would Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Joseph, her husband, travel close to 100 miles, across inhospitable terrain, in the last month of her pregnancy? One simple reason – the Roman government made them. According to the Book of Luke, which is also substantiated by historical and archeological records, Caesar Augustus called for a Roman/world census. It was the first census the world had ever seen. Since Mary and Joseph were in the lineage of David, their ancestral home for taxing purposes was Bethlehem.

In the Old Testament, Micah, one of the minor prophet books, says the following:

“And you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, you being least among the thousands of Judah, out of you He (Jesus) shall come forth (be born) to Me, that is to become the Ruler in Israel” Micah 5:2

God had foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Yet, on their own, Mary and Joseph would never have gone to Bethlehem. Joseph was a carpenter, and in Nazareth, where they lived, there were plenty of trees for building. Bethlehem had only rocks and shrubs. Neither were of any use to a carpenter. Mary, being with child, would never have traveled by choice.

So God moved heaven and earth to make all the pieces leading to Christ’s birth come together. He did this at just the right time for the promised Savior of the world to be born… in the exact place that was prophesied over 700 years prior.

Could God have whispered in the ear of Mary and said, “Jesus needs to be born in Nazareth, so you need to go…”? Of course – He had spoken to her before and He could do it again. Yet, He chose to move her in another way… by a decree from the most powerful government in the world. Why do you think that is?

I believe that God was showing us something here that we often miss. God was willing to move a government, with great precision, to make His word happen! He made it all transpire in the exact place He foretold. He put it on the mind of Caesar, and the other rulers of the time, to make the people of Israel go to their patriarchal home, for Mary and Joseph, that was Bethlehem. Imagine this being done at the exact time of Christ’s birth!

The reason that is so important to us today, is that God speaks into our hearts. He speaks to us through His word and the Holy Spirit. His promises are real and His power is beyond our comprehension. So I believe that God is telling us through this story, that even when everything seems impossible and the odds are against you – trust Him. When you see no way to accomplish the task – seek Him. When the dream is too big and the call on your life is beyond your capacity to realistically consider – talk to Him. If He ordered it, we can trust Him to help us carry it out to completion. He has the power and will put things in motion just for your good.

You may be in a dark place today, and are not sure how you are going to be able to go on. You may have lost everything you hold dear. I want you to hear me… God has His arms open to you. He wants to walk you out of this valley of darkness or death but you have to seek Him. You may think that you are too far gone, and I will tell you that’s not true. God can reach into the deepest darkest pits of hell and move mountains, governments, and people just for you…. Will you trust Him today? Just try it… He is waiting!

Praise Him!


P.S. I can speak these words because I have seen Him do it for me. There have been times in my life where I wanted to die – literally asked God to take me. I have been in some dark places that I could not get out of on my own. God took me by the hand, and led me through those valleys I thought were meant to destroy me. Little did I know, in those dark valleys, He was actually working to restore me. He can do the same for you.

Tis’ The Season!

This time of year can be magical. Holiday cheer is in the air. People are smiling and planning meals, family reunions and gifts for everyone. Christmas cards are going out and homes are being decorated inside and out. The stores are full and the registers are ringing. The weather has gotten a bit cool here in Texas and the leaves are turning and dropping. It is certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Yet, behind closed doors holiday cheer can be absent. The pain of the loss of a loved one can bring tears… for years. The stress and strain of the season can bring people to depression/anxiety and there is always an uptick in the use of psychotropic medications.

How can these different scenarios exist inside of a season where there is supposed to be great cheer? The truth is that they are both wrong because neither set of people are looking to the real reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ. As we look to the greatest event in human history, that is what should make us joyful. Yet, the sad truth is most people today can’t even tell you why and what Christmas is about.

Thousands of years before Christ was born of virgin in a manger in the city of Bethlehem, it was foretold that He would be born in that exact place and in that exact way. Wise men from Babylon came to celebrate His birth following a star that was foretold to announce His birth, the birth of the King and Savior of the World.

So why have things changed so much? Why are we not celebrating the King that has come to save us? The sad truth is that we, as a society, have become so caught up in the holiday scene that Madison Avenue has portrayed for us or the Hallmark Channel has scripted for us, that we forget about Jesus. We become despondent when the reality of the Madison Avenue Christmas is interrupted by real life tragedy, loss and pain.

I want to challenge you to do something with me – each day till Christmas, I am going to write about the real Christmas Story and some interesting historical and scientific facts about it all, along with a couple of Christmas miracles. I want to ask you to respond each day with a favorite memory of yours from Christmas past or your hopes for this Christmas – maybe your plans at your church etc. Let’s do this!

Merry Christmas!


Dangerous Prayers

If God is really listening – what would you say to Him today about your life or situation? Many will want to say, I want all war and disease to end and I believe that one day that is exactly what is going to happen but let’s focus on the right now…

What would you ask Him today to help you with?

Many ask the question, is God really even listening. The atheist wants to scoff at the idea that God of any sort would bother answering anyone and if He is all that, how could he ever do that. What they fail to consider is that an all-knowing God can do all He sets His mind too!

In the Book of Daniel there are several examples of God’s response right in the midst of the prayer being spoken. That shows that God is not only willing to listen but to dramatically intervene when necessary but work on our behalf regardless!

Billy Graham once said about prayer, that it is a conversation with God where we listen as much as we talk. Have you ever thought about listening to God? There is a passage in 1 Samuel 3:9 where the young man says to God, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant is listening…” God speaks to the young man. What about you and me… can we do this? I believe the answer is yes. Have you asked God to speak with you recently? Have you sought to get quiet and enter His presence and ask Him to speak to you? I challenge you to do this today.

What is your greatest need today? Have you asked God about it? Why not?

I had a guy tell me the other day that when he was really struggling with drugs he asked God to intervene and help him get clean for a little while so that he could stand on his own two feet and stay clean. God answered the next day…

What about this prayer… Search me oh Lord, know me and send me where you would have me go! It’s dangerous but it could change everything!

Grace Is Enough

Grace can be someone’s name…

Grace can be referred to as what we say before a meal…

Grace can be an attribute given to an athlete or certain animals… normally called, “Graceful”…

Grace can refer to poise… elegance…

Grace, in financial terms, can be a period of time given for a delayed payment…

In the worldly terms, this is about all it means but in God’s terms…


Grace brings us back to life!

He bought us with the price of His life… that is grace! We don’t deserve it and can’t repay it… we are incapable. We can’t work to pay off our debt and nor are we indentured servants – He tells us that the We are free indeed!

So what are we to do then?

First, we receive the gift by faith!

Second, we come to understand that this gift is empowering us to do the work an fulfill the plan He has for us! Which is a great big ginormous plan!

Third, we are to share… give it away to others!


Yet, so often we try to do it all our own. We are told to just handle it… pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.. put our big girl panties on, suck it up buttercup… etc. We have grace at our right hand but we neglect it, refuse it with the words…. “I GOT THIS!”

The truth is that most of the time we don’t got it. We are overwhelmed… but we just hunker down and try to just survive.

Not only that, we live in the shadow of our past, when grace has set us free. Why do we continue to drag around the past that we are supposed to be done with? Why do we continue to flirt with the past and the things that brought us down to the bottom of the pit last time? Grace has paid the price for our freedom, while we are flirting with disaster! We have the power to run and not grow tired and soar on wings like eagles and yet we find ourselves content with rolling around in the mud… why?

The reality is we haven’t fully grasped the gift that has been placed in our hearts. We have received it but it’s like we haven’t unwrapped it… nor have we plummeted into its depths, which have no end.

Grace has redeemed us from the fall while we are still circling the drain…

Let grace grip you… let it help you be done with the baggage of a past that has been bought and paid for!

Be free… embraced by grace!

No Titles…

This world gets so caught up in labels and titles… it helps to classify you, so we don’t really have to get to know anyone. My name is __________ and I am a ___________. What else does the world need to know?

To serve you coffee… nothing

To sell you something… nothing

But if they want to get to know you, they must go deeper. Social media tends to cheapen that process because we can hide behind filters and memes!

So how do we really get to know someone? We spend time with them. We hear about their life. We ask questions and really listen. We discover truths about them that the world may miss because they hasten to place labels…

What about Jesus Christ?

First, how does the world label Him? Some call him a good man that lived a long-time ago. Others call him a myth. Some say he was just a prophet and nothing more. There are more labels but that will suffice for now.

So how do we know the truth and not some sound bit or cliche? We get to know Him! We read what He wrote… we listen to His story… we spend time talking with Him. What will you call Him once you get to know Him?

Let me tell you what I call Him –

Savior! He saved me from the mess I made

Transformer! He took me at my worst and began a work in me that changed everything.

My Strength! On my own, I am powerless over this world but in Him I am powerful!

Conqueror! He conquered the enemy and the power of death over humanity!

My Protector!

Friend! He tells that if I do what He tells me to do in His word, I am His friend.

The more I get to know Him, the more I want to be like Him!

He is my all – Do you know Him? Would you like to get to know Him? Just call out to Him in faith – he Hears you!

Who Am I?

The world wants to define me as…

Whatever suits their purpose… if they want to sell me something, they want to influence or manipulate…

If they want to judge me… they look at my past and label me

If they want to get something from me… they may flatter me

If they want to have nothing to do with… they can categorize me

But if they want to understand me… they have to get to know me, but…

What would they discover if they really got to know me?

They would discover that I am not very religious, as the world defines it…

The Bible defines religion as visiting the orphan and the widow, while living a life unspotted by the world. I am not very religious….

But I am very much into my relationship with Jesus Christ… I spend time with Him everyday… we talk and I read what He has written. He moves me and I move… I get it wrong, miss some things but I believe by making a mistake in the right direction, trying to help or make a difference, I am still growing in this relationship, as He grows in me…

So, who am I …

I am a seeker… I seek the Son of God and His mysteries, along with the calling He has put on my life

I am transformed, daily… If you had known me before, you wouldn’t recognize me today! Jesus has done a work in me that I can’t easily explain… except to say that I am a new man, new creation and the old has passed away… the old me has died!

I am a stumbler… I fall every day! Glory be to God, He is there to pick me up… it’s part of the relationship of love that He has with me… it brings me to tears to consider that much love… for me. It’s like a mother or father of a special needs child, they will do anything to protect that child and just know that they must be there with them forever… I am very much a special needs child in this world and my Heavenly Father loves me, unconditionally… even as a stumbler!

There are things that I do but they are not me. There are things that I have and don’t have but they do not define me.

I am who Jesus says I am…even if I struggle…

I am stronger than I can comprehend (Philippians 4:13)

I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)

I am loved… (The Whole Bible is a love letter He wrote to me!)


The Art of a Grateful Heart


The Art of A Grateful Heart

A heart is a fragile thing… it can so easily fall apart.

One touch – one strong word in defiance

And its reliance upon the object of its affection

Shatters like a fine china tea cup…

But you, oh Lord… YOU promise something more…

Something different… You promise to overcome the world

You promise to bind up the broken hearted

You promise to give us Your heart in exchange for ours

Lord, my heart has been broken…

Sometimes by my own bad choices…

Other times by the broken and ragged edges of this shattered world

Come perform Holy Heart Surgery On Me today.

Teach my heart, that is now your heart, to be strong

Teach my heart, that is now your heart, to know YOU

Teach my heart, that is now your heart, to not be afraid

To be fearless…

Teach my heart, your heart in me, to be grateful…

For you didn’t have to do any of it… you gave your all for me

Chased me down when I was running away…

In my guilt and shame… in my cataclysmic mess you scooped up my ashes

And gave me Beauty… you spoke into my heart and gave me eternity as a gift…

A beautiful – perfect gift to be treasured and shared…

You lifted my heaviness off my struggling back and gave me something to shout about… too sing about…

Lord, I am grateful… even when I don’t say it or feel it.

For I know from whence I came… I remember the pit you pulled me out of.

I know the depth…

So I am eternally grateful… I love You Jesus…

Sincerely,                                                                          grateful heart

My Grateful Heart

Body Camera’s Are Now An Amazon Bestseller!

We all know that police all over America are now wearing body camera’s. We have all seen the infamous footage of police dash camera’s. Some of the footage has been infamous, others we would have rather not seen.

But did you know….

If you go to Amazon you can buy body camera’s, sunglasses camera’s and helmet camera’s. You can also buy your very own dash camera for your car. The police started wearing them to provide evidence that was indisputable, one way or the other, of what was going on in the pursuit, apprehension and detainment of those suspected of a crime. Now, there is more to it than that but those issues are not the important point. But today, everyday people are wearing them. I was interested as to why…

What I discovered was that some have begun to wear them as a way of documenting sexual harassment. Others have begun to wear them to create YouTube content from the crazy things they do. Others, just because they think it’s cool. The new surge in Uber and Lyft drivers have spurred the purchasing of the dash camera’s but others have begun to do it as well.

But my question is, what about God? Doesn’t He see everything? What about all the things that the camera’s don’t see? He still sees it. With that in mind, how should we conduct ourselves? How should we conduct ourselves at work… in our daily lives… in the drive on the way to anywhere… in our homes… behind closed doors? And here is the real kicker… He even knows our thoughts ! So what are we to do?

It’s simple but difficult… we surrender! We are never going to get it all perfect… It’s impossible. So we surrender our whole lives to God and ask Him to help. The Bible tells us that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. We must surrender our minds. What about our work life? We should work as thought we are working for Jesus! I know…. I know… your boss here on earth is no Jesus, but… just realize that we answer to Him and who know’s if our godly example doesn’t begin a work in that boss! As far as those crazy drivers go, just pray for them. Praying will help you refocus on what is good and right.

Now, what about the rest of it… realize that you are going to slip up so give yourself so me grace. Yet, don’t allow this to be an excuse that you use to justify bad behavior and ongoing bad choices. In Hebrews 12:1-2a it says …

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run the race with endurance that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…”

Follow Jesus! We will talk more about this next time – So until then, remember – You are His Masterpiece and you have a Holy Spirit Cam that sees far more than anything man devise.

Love Came Down!

Have you ever been reaching for something on a shelf that seems just out of reach? How about a goal you have tried to achieve that seems just beyond your capacity? What about that promotion? What about letting go of the addiction? What about moving on past a bad relationship? What about love… just beyond your reach?

So much in life just seems to be out of reach. We want to feel loved, be loved and ultimately give love. Why is life so hard?

I will tell you that at my lowest point, I discovered something – I had been unable to love because I had never received the love of Christ in my heart. You see, God is love and if He is not the Lord of our lives – true, deep and abiding love is impossible. When I came to understand that, I wept…

The beauty of God’s love is that we don’t have to reach for it or earn it. God sent love down to us in the form of beautiful baby born, as foretold. Love came down for you and for me… Thank you Jesus!!

Merry Christmas Y’all!

Cliff Robertson, Jr.

Pastor, The Carpenter’s House