Friday, December 22, 2006

The Season of Love

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us.
--1 John 3:16a
People everywhere talk about the Spirit of Christmas, but what is the Spirit of Christmas? I suggest to you that the Spirit of Christmas is truly the Spirit of Christ. It is love, love for your neighbor and fellow man. The Spirit of Christmas, regardless of how the world might like to spin it, is shown best in the manger and on the cross. The Spirit of Christmas is absolutely a Christian thing because it is God's incredible love for the world that brought Christ to earth...the very essence of Christmas.
So, if you wonder how to get in the Christmas Spirit this season, just look to Christ. After all, He was a gift from God to humankind. He gave of Himself to all He encountered and He gave all of Himself on the cross so that we could live forever. Christ is the manifestation of the Christmas Spirit, let us all worship the King!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Engraved On The Palms of His Hands.

"Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands"
--Isaiah 49:16
In Knowing God by J.I. Packer, the author makes it his purpose to show that the most important aspect of our relationship with God is not that we know God, but rather that we are known by Him. Paul makes this point in Galatians 4:9 as he says you "have become known by God." Being known by God is more than being known by your best friend, however. In fact, being known by God is infinitely greater than even God being known by us.
As humans, we have a tendency to be absent minded on occasion. There are times when our minds are not concerned about the people we love. We may be occupied by a task or another relationship, and at that time we simply do not think about the other people in our lives. However, with God, it is completely different. He has inscribed us on the palms of His hands. In God's omniscience, omnipotence, and perfect love we are always on His mind. There is not a time when God is not loving you and me as His children. What an amazing thought that should drive us to the feet of our Father. Even in our worst moments, He is still loving us.
What an amazing God we serve who is able and willing to love us at all times; even though that love cost him the death of His own Son. He loved us when he was born of a virgin, and he loved us when he hung on the cross. He loves us even now in the midst of our imperfect lives...WHAT AN AMAZING GOD!

Monday, December 11, 2006

What Is Love?

"Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish, is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." --1 Corinthians 13:4-7
What is love? Well, the apostle Paul gave us a great definition in 1 Corinthians 13, but if that is not concrete enough for you, try this definition on for size. Love is a baby in a manger. That's right. If you ever wonder what love is, Christmas should be the perfect reminder for you. As you take time to look at the nativity scene in your home this year, pay attention to the baby in the manger. That is love right there. Talk about unselfish, not boastful, not envious...God, stepping down from the paradise of heaven where he is surrounded by praise always and coming to earth as a baby and being laid in a feed trough. WOW! If only we could love in the way that God loves.
What is love? If a baby in a manger is not good enough for you, try this one. Love is a Savior on a cross. Paul says that love keeps no record of wrong. Jesus must have loved us intensely to be willing to die on a cross for us to forgive our sins. The Bible says that God's forgiveness is different from man's forgiveness. According to Scripture, God casts our sins as far as the east is from the west. In other words, he keeps no record of our wrongs once we have come to him for forgiveness.
What is love? God is love! That is the message of the Bible. God loves you and desires to be in relationship with you. How much do you love God?


Fox News is reporting that an airport in Seattle, Washington has removed all of its Christmas decorations to avoid being offensive to anyone. Needless to say, the airport did not seem too concerned over the millions of Christians who are probably offended every Christmas by a society that works very hard to push anything that could be translated as Christian out of a holiday that would not even exist without Christ. But really, should Christians be surprised when Christ is pushed out of Christmas? Absolutely not, after all, it was Herod who tried to trick the Magi into giving up the Christ child so that he could have him killed.

There has been an effort to push Jesus away since he was born over two thousand years ago. The problem is not that people do not want Christ in Christmas, it is that Christ is not welcomed in their hearts. Welcoming Christ means accepting all that he had to say and all that he did. Needless to say, that is not a popular concept. The world desires to view Jesus Christ as some sort of rock star to be printed on T-Shirts, but of course, very few people are willing to accept Christ as he is. Not a rock-star, but the Rock of Ages. He is the Lord of the universe and he desires to be more than a conversation piece, he will settle for nothing less than total control over our lives, but it is up to us to surrender our control to him.

Why is Christ being removed from Christmas? It's not because the world hates Christians, they hate our Lord. We should not be surprised, he told us this was coming.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Prepare For Action

"Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being soberminded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 1:13
In this exciting letter, the apostle Peter warns his readers to prepare their minds for action. He goes on to instruct his readers to be holy. As Christians, we have all been called to the holy lifestyle of which Peter speaks. However, before he ever instructs his readers to live a holy life, he tells them to prepare their minds for action. The mind is the key to spiritual victory in all aspects of life.
Believe it or not, sin takes place in the mind long before it ever takes place in the body. If you want to be holy, if you desire to live up to the holy calling of Christ, you must not leave it up to chance. Those who maintain holy lives do so because they first prepare their minds for action. A holy life is lived by the person who first has a holy mind. The very first Psalm speaks of the blessings to come for the one who meditates on the law of the Lord. Why? Well, the blessings come because the meditations on the Lord bring about a life lived in devotion to the Lord. The Psalmist says "prepare your mind for action."
Rest assured, the devil will attack your mind long before he tempts your body. How will you respond, is your mind prepared for action to overcome the schemes of the evil one. Jesus said that even harboring sinful thoughts is sinful. Maybe one of the reasons for that is because Jesus knows that as we harp on sinful thoughts, we will most likely act on those thoughts in the future. Peter warns us to prepare our minds. The battle is coming, will you choose to think holy so that you can live holy?