Proclaiming a Message of Good News and Hope to our generation!

Month: November 2016

Tis the Season to be Jolly!

This is the time of the year where people in many cultures around the world join in celebrating traditional holidays. In an effort to avoid offense, some are removing the reference to Christianity, but the idea of Christmas for many more has long transcended religious differences. The music, the colorful decorations, the parties and get-togethers, the sharing of gifts, the inspirational stories and movies are all a part of the “Spirit of Christmas,” which is associated with warm feelings and joyful hearts.

Even many Christians realize that Christ is not always the center of this holiday season. From the beginning different cultural elements have joined in that have little to do with the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. And yet, there is a kind of magic in the air, and special enjoyment when getting out last years decorations, and adding some new ones to this years Christmas Tree!

The Christian faith teaches that God pours out His grace and goodness on those who do not believe on Him as well as upon those who do. Could it be possible that this universal desire for peace and love is behind all the mythology and traditions surrounding the season? Could the very idea of a humble and yet powerful and loving Savior sparked something in the imagination of so many to hope that this could be actually be true?

Not everything about the season is positive, we know. And yet it does often bring out the best in people. I say let’s focus on that part of it. As a Christian, I believe we are to allow the nature of Christ to be seen in us in all seasons. At the same time, I am encouraged that He can be at work in the lives of those who do not even know Him, for what ever reason! What do you think?

Crazy for the Glory of God?

2 Cor 5:12-15:
“If it seems that we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them.” (NLT)

Since the apostle Peter instructs us to prepare our hearts and minds in order to be always ready to give reasons for the hope we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15), that hope must of course be reasonable. In fact we have numerous examples in the New Testament where believers in God did this very thing. Jesus, Stephen, Apollos and Paul are all shown reasoning through the scriptures, and Paul in his letters made weighty use of reason to convince his readers to hear and obey Christ.

On the other hand, sometimes what we propose seems crazy to others. In Athens, Greek philosophers thought Paul mad when he declared to them the resurrection of Christ. During his incarceration, Paul reasoned with the governor Felix concerning righteousness, temperance and judgment to come. Paul’s persuasion was so powerful that Felix trembled! Later however, when Paul told Felix’s successor, Porcius Festus, about his meeting the risen Christ, Festus thought Paul was mad! (Acts 24:25, 26:24)

Let us be honest. Before some of us understood and experienced what Paul was talking about, we too thought this whole Bible story was a bit crazy. Why should we not now expect outsiders to think that of us as well? On one hand, the evidence of God’s promises and blessings does appear to be clear and obvious. But on the other hand, the things we claim to be true can appear to be really strange to many.

Noah heard voices that instructed him to build a boat. Moses was told by a burning bush to face the most powerful man in the world. Gideon was told to reduce his military forces from 30,000 to 300! David as a young boy was crazy enough to go after a 10 foot tall seasoned warrior with a slingshot!

Then we have the prophets who saw strange visions concerning the future and were often told by God to do daring things.

Eventually, the age of mystical experiences and miracles came to a close, until another prophet came, who challenged His hearers to believe again in wondrous possibilities! He knew that all things were possible with God, and He proved this to be true! A new age of miracles, signs and wonders was inaugurated by Jesus and His disciples which lasted for many years.

From time to time, God will nurture in the hearts of certain individuals and groups the desire to see powerful signs again in the earth that witness to the resurrection of Christ. Any student of Church History might discover that the age of miracles can return as often as God desires.

When I as a younger man, I was a bit crazier than I am today. In fact I went off the deep end a few times in expecting miracles when a problem could be solved in a more practical way. Presently I am feeling the need to be more adventurous and believe again that ALL THINGS are possible with God! Maybe I have accepted too many things without considering that God might perhaps want to show His power in our circumstances.

While it might seem scary at first, living as a fool for Christ is more fulfilling than any other path. It puts us in a place where we more fully trust in Him, and actually deepens our relationship with Him. In another sense it will liberate us from fear, worry, and doubt, as we look to our wonderful Savior and Lord for all things!

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