Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Christmas Means to Me

Growing up our family always celebrated Christmas with Santa Claus and presents under the tree, decorating the house, lots of great food and family gatherings. While at church however, we might have mentioned that this is the “time of year that Christ was born” we seemed preoccupied with the notion that since we couldn’t exactly pinpoint his birth date, we couldn’t properly celebrate Christ’s birth. So it seemed we simply “skimmed” over it. Instead we emphasized his death every week based in part because of Acts 20:7. A practice I still feel is ultimately much more important. But, had Jesus Christ not been born, He certainly could not have died either. You see without one there is no other. I admit again that without His perfect obedience, His being tempted, His cruel humiliation, punishment, death, and resurrection we simply could have no hope. In fact, it is this verse that I chose to be the basis of - the foundation of the rest of this story:

Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us a new birth and a hope that is alive. It is alive because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

In this verse alone, it states that our hope is alive because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. But in my humble understanding, it is implied that our hope is alive because of EVERYTHING that Jesus Christ did and went through. It includes His resurrection, but how could He be resurrected without first being put to death? How could He be put to death without first being “captured”? And so on…

So again I say:
(please hover over any of the verses to read the scripture)

It is alive because Jesus Christ...

• is convincing men by his Spirit to live soberly, righteously, and godly Isaiah 9:7
• is reigning over His kingdom Isaiah 9:7
• is sitting on David's throne Isaiah 9:7
• is sitting at the right hand of LORD God Psalm 110:1
• serves as our high priest Psalm 110:4
• ascended to heaven Ephesians 4:10, Luke 24:51
• was seen alive by many people Mark 16:14, Acts 2:32
• redeemed us from every lawless deed Titus 2:14
• was raised from death Mark 16:6
• body was wrapped in linen and buried Mark 15:46
• freed those who were held in slavery to death Heb 2:15
• destroyed Satan's power over death Heb 2:14
• descended in hell Revelation 1:18
• died on the cross Mark 15:37
• cried out for his father on the cross Mark 15:34
• was crucified Mark 15:24
• was crowned with thorns and mocked Mark 15:17
• was bound and flogged Mark 15:1,15
• was spit upon, blindfolded and beaten Mark 14:65
• confessed that he was the son of God Mark 14:61,62
• was humiliated Acts 8:33
• was accused falsely by the religious elite Mark 14:55,56
• was betrayed by a kiss from a friend Mark 14:45,46
• prayed three times to bypass death Mark 14:41
• was overwhelmed with terrible sorrow Mark 14:34
• was impressed by the faith of the poor Mark 12:43
• was constantly tested by the religious elite Mark 12:13
• drove out the evil from the temple Mark 11:15
• entered Jerusalem as a King Mark 11:7-11
• predicted his betrayal, trial, torture, and execution Mark 10:33,34
• prayed for and blessed children Matthew 19:13, Mark 10:14
• denied himself of earthly pleasures Matthew 16:24
• was compassionate of people who were lost Mark 6:34
• spoke in parables to those who would listen Mark 4:2
• performed many miracles Matthew 11:4
• raised people from death Matthew 9:25
• invested time with those who needed forgiveness Mark 2:17
• ate with sinners Matthew 9:10
• forgave men their sins Matthew 9:2
• cast out demons Matthew 8:31
• calmed storms Matthew 8:24
• felt urgent about his business Matthew 8:22
• was declared by many people whom he healed Mark 1:45, Mark 5:20, Mark 7:36
• touched the unclean and unwanted Matthew 8:3, Mark 7:33, Mark 8:25
• prayed in solitary places Mark 1:35
• healed many of sickness Matthew 4:23
• called men to be his disciples Matthew 4:19
• preached the gospel Matthew 4:17
• confronted Satan Matthew 4:10
• knew and quoted scripture Matthew 4:4
• was tempted Matthew 4:1
• fasted and prayed Matthew 4:1
• was lead by the Spirit Matthew 4:1
• was confirmed by God Matthew 3:17
• was confirmed by the Holy Spirit Matthew 3:16
• was obedient Matthew 3:15
• was baptized Matthew 3:13
• was announced by John the baptist Mark 1:7
• was born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:18

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Psalm 34 Broken and Crushed

A Psalm of David.

1 I will thank the LORD at all times. My lips will always praise him.
2 I will honor the Lord. Let those who are hurting hear and be joyful.
3 Join me in giving glory to the Lord. Let us honor him together.
4 I looked to the Lord, and he answered me. He saved me from everything I was afraid of.
5 Those who look to him beam with joy. They are never put to shame.
6 This poor man called out, and the LORD heard him. He saved him out of all of his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD stands guard around those who have respect for him. And he saves them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Blessed is the man who goes to him for safety.
9 You people of God, have respect for the Lord. Those who respect him have everything they need.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry. But those who look to the LORD have every good thing they need.
11 My children, come. Listen to me. I will teach you to have respect for the Lord.
12 Do you love life and want to see many good days?
13 Then keep your tongues from speaking evil. Keep your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn away from evil, and do good. Look for peace, and go after it.
15 The LORD looks with favor on those who are godly. His ears are open to their cry.
16 The LORD doesn't look with favor on those who do evil. He removes all memory of them from the earth.
17 Godly people cry out, and the LORD hears them. He saves them from all of their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to those whose hearts have been BROKEN. He saves those whose spirits have been CRUSHED.
19 Anyone who does what is right may have many troubles. But the LORD saves him from all of them.
20 The LORD watches over all of his bones. Not one of them will be broken.
21 Sinners will be killed by their own evil. The enemies of godly people will be judged.
22 The LORD sets those who serve him free. No one who goes to him for safety will be judged.
I ask for your prayers as again, just this evening at 10 pm I received a call from my employer that my "assignment has been terminated". That's quite a fancy way of saying that I was laid off - yet another time - the third time within a year. God has provided for me and my family during the past year, but I must say, it has been one of the toughest years I've ever been through. Praise God for providing for us. I am truly walking by faith, because I can see no way in front of me. I have no idea what I will be doing, or where I will be, or whatever will happen. I just hope, and pray, and ask God to go before me, and to lead the way, and to clear the way, and to give us peace that can only come from Him. God is the ONLY one on whom I can depend. My stomach is upset, I've now got a serious headache, and yes, I'm stressed out. God, please save me! Please! Good night.