Sunday, December 18, 2011

God’s will toward men!

This week we will be celebrating Christmas, while we all remember Luke's account of the birth of the Messiah I have found a different word picture from this account.

Luke 2: 8-14
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
       14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

You see in the last line of the above passage we see that this new babe that was born would bring peace on earth and good will toward man. The babe that was born was the Messiah, Emmanuel; God with us.
In reading this passage today it occurred to me it was not only goodwill toward men but was God's will toward men. God sent down his son to live among us to make atonement for the sins of the world. Our pastor pointed out today that this would be the first time since the fall in the garden that we would truly have peace on earth, not among men, but between man and God.
Christ was sent to make final atonement for our sins so we would not have to make a sacrifice every year to have our sins covered but would have them forever wiped away by this baby that was born in Bethlehem.

That is why the Christmas season is so special!

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

When we give who does it benefit more, the person who is receiving, or the one who is giving?

Isaiah 9:2
The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

Last week we talked about what we are celebrating and what Christmas means to us. This week we are continuing with our month long celebration of the birth of our Lord. As I was researching the writing for this week, I thought about the saying "it is better to give than to receive". I had always thought it was one of those sayings that everyone thought was in the bible, but was just an old truth passed from generation to generation when in fact it is in the bible, although I can't find where it was prior to this appearance, it is in the book of Acts.

Acts 20:35
I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

If we think about this we have all said it but not really thought about what the saying means although it seems so self explanatory. If we think of a gift that we have given or have been given throughout our lifetime, what emotions come to mind?

I find myself looking at this through my Dad's eyes. Growing up he had a rough life he was raised just after the depression and didn't always get things, not just toys or things he wanted, he didn't always have shoes, food, or adequate clothes to wear. Now hearing that you would think I was going to talk about how he was a miser and always kept his money close, as that is often what happens when people grow up with nothing. That is not it at all. I was spoiled beyond spoiling, Dad always spent everything on his kids. I never really thought about it until I started writing this week and looked at it from a different way. I apologize now and will understand if you can't read the whole thing but I can't really get the point I am trying to make across without sharing a Christmas story from my past.

When I was eight years old my Dad and his friends Clark Nash and Rule Goodman went quail hunting every available minute they had and I wanted to go as well. I only had a .22 caliber rifle, which made bird hunting impossible. All that year we looked at shotguns and I just knew I was getting a .410 for Christmas. December rolled around, our tree went up, and there was a nice forty inch by ten inch box under the tree, I knew it was my gun. I had other presents but never even noticed them as I was focused on my gun.
Christmas morning came and of course I dove for my box with my gun in it. To my surprise, or I should say disappointment, there was not a gun in the box but instead it was filled with Avon bottles. You see the other gifts that I hadn't noticed were all pieces to a shotgun each wrapped individually. My Dad truly enjoyed giving more than receiving but with a little surprising twist to make things interesting. Looking back on things I would have bet my face wasn't big enough to hold my smile and I know my Dad's smile was even bigger.

Take the time to think about this story and who was the one who truly received the gift, was it the son; or the father that gave?

You see my Dad gave without condition to bring enjoyment to his son, our Heavenly Father gave without condition to give the world salvation and grace; through His Son.

Have a blessed week,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Your true meaning of Christmas

Last week we posed the question what is Christmas?

The next two weeks we will explore through God's word, what Christmas means to all of us.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Christ came not only as our Savior to redeem us and save us from eternal damnation, he came to give us life free from all of the chains of sin that each of us were born into. That is the reason that the wise men, the shepherds, the Jewish people, and even king Herod, were so interested to hear of his coming.

Matthew 2 :1-4
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

The Jewish people were told throughout the bible of a Messiah that would come to deliver them from oppression and bondage. This is the reason the wise men and shepherds were so jubilant when they saw the star and were told by the angels what it was to lead them to. On the other hand it is also why King Herod was so concerned as he knew that the Messiah would free man from the darkness of the present world and that a truly free people could never be ruled as he had ruled them in the past.

I see Christmas as a day of celebration not only as it is the birth of our Savior, but I see it like a day a hostage or prisoner would remember and celebrate as their day of release. The next few weeks I will share more scripture recounting the birth of our Lord. Feel free to share what Christmas means to you.

Have a blessed week,