Come


come

Reposted from Radical Mentoring

Christmas. It’s the beginning of a new day. A new era. Instead of saying, “Go, perform well by following the law,” (which no one could ever do), Jesus arrives and simply says . . . Come!

For all of history, the children of God had been told, “Go, and take heed unto thy steps as to the path in which thou shalt walk. Go, and break the commandments, and thou shalt perish; go and keep them, and thou shalt live.” Now here’s the baby Messiah whose call starts with ‘come,’ not ‘go.’

It started with ‘come’ to the shepherds and wise men . . . walking hundreds of miles in the dark, cold night . . . all to see a newborn. Come! Jesus probably looked like any other newborn, but the Holy Spirit told them He was different. This baby is the promised Messiah, born of a virgin, destined to be sacrificed on a cross to save the world.

Charles Spurgeon . . .

“The law was a dispensation of terror, which drove men before it as with a scourge; the Gospel draws with bands of love . . . the law repels, the Gospel attracts. The law shows the distance which there is between God and man; the Gospel bridges that awful chasm, and brings the sinner across it.”

Do you see the difference? Does He want us to obey the law? Of course. But He knows that our only chance of living a “God-centric” life is through Jesus. For a lot of my life, I thought I had to ‘fix’ myself, clean up my act, and then I could invite God to come back into my life. I thought God was all about ‘go’ and ‘be’ good enough . . . then maybe I could have peace. Later on, I learned He was there all along, ever since my childhood ‘conversion.’ I had failed at being good enough for years, ignoring that ‘still small voice’ that kept calling “Come.”

As you sit down with your family this weekend, ask yourself this question, “Am I still on the treadmill of the law? Am I still trying to be good enough . . . to behave well enough that God will bless me?”

Or have you ‘come’ to Him. Have you realized how futile ‘being good enough’ is? Have you grasped that Jesus not only brings forgiveness for your sins and a pathway to heaven, He brings unconditional acceptance and unbounded love for you. All you must do is answer His call to ‘come’ with a simple, heartfelt “yes.”

What a great way to come into Christmas this weekend than to say to yourself and to Him, “no more.” I’ll take Him at His word and ‘come’ to Him. Because of His justice-creating death on the Cross, we are free from the terror of the law. When we accept His peace and His promise, He’ll be there beside us the rest of this life. We must say to ourselves each minute, each hour, each day . . . “Thank you Jesus for inviting me to ‘come.’ Now, in the New Year and every day following, I’ll thank you and trust you with every outcome in my life. I’m so glad you ‘changed the game.’ I’m so glad you invited me to ‘come.’”

The Month Before “Christ”mas


Christmas

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.

Why the PC Police
Had taken away
The reason for Christmas
No one could say.

The children were told
By their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men
And Angels and things.

It might hurt people’s feelings,
The teachers would say
December 25th
Is just a “Holiday”.

Yet the shoppers were ready
With cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down
To the floor just to get it!

CDs from Madonna,
An X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing,
Something quite odd!

Retailers promoted
Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books
By Franken and Fonda.

As Targets were hanging
Their trees upside down
At Lowe’s the word Christmas
Was no where to be found.

At K-Mart and Staples
And Penny’s and Sears
You won’t hear the word Christmas;
It won’t touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive,
Di-ver-is-ty
Are words that were used
To intimidate me.

Now Daschle, Now Darden,
Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather,
On Kerry, on Clinton!

At the top of the Senate,
There arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus,
In all public matter.

And we spoke not a word,
As they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak
Of salvation and grace

The true Gift of Christmas
as exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season,
Stopped before it started.

So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’
Under your ‘Dream Tree’
Sipping your Starbucks,
Listen to me.

Choose your words carefully,
Choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS,
Not Happy Holiday!

Please, all Christians join together and wish everyone you meet

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

On Earth as it is in Heaven


prayer-changes

Reposted from Walk in the Word with James MacDonald

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, ESV).

When we hear the Lord’s Prayer recited, we usually hear emphasis on the words kingdom and will. It sounds like this: “Your kingdom come, your will be done” (emphasis mine).

We can subtly change the meaning of wording by altering what we accentuate. Try praying it like this: “Your kingdom come, your will be done” (emphasis mine). Whose kingdom—yours or God’s? God’s! In prayer, you submit your will and your territory to God. You bring your burdens before Him, not as an equal, but seeking and expecting His will to be done and His kingdom to prevail. You will be able to look back and say, “When I started to pray about this, I was praying the way I saw things. But as the weeks became months, I started praying differently because I came to see things God’s way. That reality changed what I asked for and the way I asked. Now I want what God wants for my life.”

Sometimes prayer changes things—and sometimes prayer changes me. And I start to pray more in line with what God wants than what I want. Prayer is part of the furnace God uses to fabricate His will. Praying puts us where He can work on us. That’s why we pray in submission, “Your will be done.”

Submission comes before wide-open prayer. Let’s be honest—many of us ask for silly or selfish things, or maybe we insist on our own way. But God doesn’t rule by committee, so through prayer, we submit and align our wills with God’s. That’s why Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). That’s not an open, unconditional invitation to ask for whatever you want, no strings attached. When you get yourself to a place of true submission to God, you can ask whatever you wish because you won’t ask for dumb stuff. You want what He wants, because your will is submitted to His.

We pray for God’s will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” How do you suppose God’s will works in heaven? If God says to the angels, “Build some more mansions,” do you think they respond, “We’re tied up right now,” or “We’ve got some supply problems, and the permits aren’t coming through”? I’m going to suggest that in heaven things happen exactly the way God wants, on time, every time. So when we pray, “Your will be done,” we’re declaring, “God, we long for it to be like it is in heaven. We want our lives to reflect the state where what You want happens on time, every time.” That’s a prayer of submission.

Salt Life


salt

Reposted from Radical Mentoring

Ever notice how moms have to hide1 the candy and cookies but not the salt? They leave it right out on the counter. You never find a kid stuffing handfuls of salt in their mouths. Salt is amazing stuff; it’s both purifying and preserving. We can live (probably longer) without sugar and a bunch of other stuff, but salt is essential.

Jesus talked about salt. “You are the salt of the earth,” He said in Matthew 5:13Open in Logos Bible Software (if available). I think it was His metaphor for grace. That idea comes from Paul, who said in Colossians 4:6Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Unlike oils and other essentials, when Artaxerzes was supplying Ezra the priest, the amount of salt he gave him wasn’t limited . . . “Salt without limit,” (Ezra 7:22Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). And way back in Leviticus, the Jews were taught to add salt to all their offerings. “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings,” (Leviticus 2:13Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). Any offering made without gratitude for His love and grace is probably an attempt at a trade, not a gift. God wanted His children to remember that.

We can have more money than we need. We can have too much food, too much freedom, too many options, too much stuff. But we can never have too much grace. In fact, the more grace we give away, the more we have.

Just for the record, my definition of grace is ‘undeserved blessing’ of ‘unmerited favor.’ It’s all the good things that come to us from God that we don’t deserve. For me, the best examples of grace are things I cannot possibly connect to anything I’ve done. In those cases I know it’s from God and not someone just trading with me or paying me back. A fantastic sunrise, prayerfully enjoyed, is grace. The spontaneous hug of a child is grace. And of course, a flashback to Jesus’ forgiveness . . . grace on steroids!

Charles Spurgeon wrote the following about salt. As you read it, think ‘grace’ when he writes ‘salt.’ . . .

“Believer, go to the throne for a large supply of heavenly salt. It will season thine afflictions, which are unsavory without salt; it will preserve thy heart, which corrupts if salt be absent, and it will kill thy sins even as salt kills reptiles. Thou needest much; seek much, and have much.”

Every time you see one of those “Salt Life” stickers or shirts, remember that Jesus wants us to live the ‘salt life’ . . . a life aware of His grace for you and generous with grace towards others. I want to hijack the idea of the ‘salt life’ from the beach bums and repurpose it for us Jesus-followers. Imagine a culture full of people spewing grace instead of anger, living grateful lives of peace instead of frantic lives of fear. Go to the throne, get a load of heavenly salt and start sharing it today.

Prayer – Thank you Lord that you took away the burden of fairness and replaced it with grace at the Cross. Give us an awareness of your presence and nudge our souls to appreciate your grace and love and to give it ‘without measure’ to everyone we encounter. In your beautiful name. Amen.

T’was The Night Before Christmas – But Not What You Expect


T’was the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house,
Made of Plaster ad Stone

I had come down the chimney,
With Presents to give,
And to see just who,
In this home did live.

I looked all about,
A strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents
Not even a tree.

No stocking by the mantel,
Just boots filed with sand,
On the wall hung pictures,
of far distant lands.

With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds,
A sober thought,
Came through my mind,

For this house was different,
It was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier,
Once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping,
Silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor,
In this one bedroom home.

His face was so gentle,
The room in disorder,
Not how I pictured
A true American Soldier.

Was this the hero,
Of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
The floor for a bed?

I realized the families,
That I saw this night,
Owed their lives to this Soldier,
Who was willing to fight.

Soon round the world,
The children would play,
And grownups would celebrate,
A bright Christmas day.

They all enjoy freedom,
Each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers,
Like the one lying here.

I couldn’t help but wonder,
How many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas eve,
In a land far from home.

The very thought,
Brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees,
And started to cry.

The soldier awakened,
And I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry,
This life is my choice;

I fight for freedom,
I don’t ask for more,
My life is my God,
My country, my Corps…”

The soldier rolled over,
And drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it,
I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours,
So silent and still,
And we both shivered,
From the cold night’s chill.

I did not want to leave,
On that cold, dark night,
This guardian of honor,
So willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over,
With a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, “Carry on Santa,
It’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”

One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
“Merry Christmas my friend,
And to all a good night.”

 

This poem was written by a Peacekeeping soldier stationed overseas. The following is his request. I think it is reasonable.

PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to all of the service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your small part to plant this small seed.