Monday, December 22, 2008

The REAL Christmas Story

Do you know what the first reference to "Christmas" in the Bible was?  Here's a hint: it's not in the New Testament.  Check out Genesis 3:15

15 I will make you (the serpent) and the woman 
       enemies to each other. 
    Your descendants and her descendants 
       will be enemies. 
    One of her descendants will crush your head,
   (One of WOMAN'S--NOT Man's)(Virgin Birth)
       and you will bite his heel."                             (Crushing the head is complete victory; biting the heel is just                                                                                   injury and pain--NOT death or defeat)

For the record: God was setting up His plan to redeem mankind BEFORE HE KICKED THEM OUT OF THE GARDEN!!!
Throughout the Old Testament, God is setting up precedents and standards and prophecies that point to the Messiah, the Christ, that He would send to mend the way between Man and God.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of four-thousand years passed while God was setting this up.  The whole time He is establishing Himself to and with His people so that when His Christ came, His people would know Him, and so that we would have plenty of examples through history to show us who God IS and who He ISN'T.  
We have to understand that God created Man to fellowship with.  He put man in the garden because He wanted to spend time with him.  Separation was the opposite of what God made us for.  So when Adam and Eve sinned, God didn't waste ANY time.  He IMMEDIATELY set up a plan to redeem mankind.  So, by the time Jesus was born, it really was like "Christmas Morning" for God.  He was really excited!  I mean COME ON!!  God was so pumped that the angels, who are spirits, Couldn't stand still and BURST into the air, in a physical form, singing "GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!!!!!"  There was too much JOY.  They had to share it with somebody.  So they bust out in song and tell a bunch of shepherds that GOD's redeemer was finally born!  He had come to succeed in everything that Adam couldn't, to satisfy everything that the sacrifices couldn't, to fulfill everything that the Law couldn't, to take the infinite gap between God's BELOVED children and pour out His heart into that gap until a way was FINALLY made for us to step across into the arms of our Father.
Christmas isn't about a Nativity scene with a baby Jesus and some soft songs.  Christmas is about 4,000 years of the passion of our Heavenly Father being poured out into the birth cry of His Son.  Jesus, who was born to die, who lived to love, and who lived God's Love so fully that He changed us from orphans and outcasts to cherished sons and daughters of the King of kings and Lord of Lords.

Revelation 12 (New Century Version)

Revelation 12

The Woman and the Dragon
 1 And then a great wonder appeared in heaven: A woman was clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars was on her head.2 She was pregnant and cried out with pain, because she was about to give birth.3 Then another wonder appeared in heaven: There was a giant red dragon with seven heads and seven crowns on each head. He also had ten horns.4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and threw them down to the earth. He stood in front of the woman who was ready to give birth so he could eat her baby as soon as it was born.5 Then the woman gave birth to a son who will rule all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was taken up to God and to his throne.6 The woman ran away into the desert to a place God prepared for her where she would be taken care of for one thousand two hundred sixty days.

 7 Then there was a war in heaven. Michael[a] and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But the dragon was not strong enough, and he and his angels lost their place in heaven.9 The giant dragon was thrown down out of heaven. (He is that old snake called the devil or Satan, who tricks the whole world.) The dragon with his angels was thrown down to the earth.

 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying: 
    "The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God 
       and the authority of his Christ have now come.

   The accuser of our brothers and sisters, 
       who accused them day and night before our God, 
       has been thrown down. 

 11 And our brothers and sisters defeated him 
       by the blood of the Lamb's death 
       and by the message they preached. 
    They did not love their lives so much 
       that they were afraid of death.

 12 So rejoice, you heavens 
       and all who live there! 
    But it will be terrible for the earth and the sea, 
       because the devil has come down to you! 
    He is filled with anger, 
       because he knows he does not have much time."

 13 When the dragon saw he had been thrown down to the earth, he hunted for the woman who had given birth to the son.14 But the woman was given the two wings of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the desert. There she would be taken care of for three and one-half years, away from the snake.15 Then the snake poured water out of its mouth like a river toward the woman so the flood would carry her away.16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that came from the mouth of the dragon.17Then the dragon was very angry at the woman, and he went off to make war against all her other children—those who obey God's commands and who have the message Jesus taught.

Tell THAT on Christmas morning!

: )

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Matter of Perspective

I was praying and appologizing to God again about mistakes I'd made.  Seems like I was always apologizing about something.  I was just so desperate to be close to God, but I was always dealing with stuff.  

Then, with my eyes closed, I saw:
I was sitting at a table.  The table was white and stretched out in front of me.  On it were trophies and awards and prizes and such.  I knew right away that these represented the things I did right/ my accomplishments in life.  I didn't have a lot of time to appreciate them though, because there were other things, the kind of things that you don't put on a table, that obviously represented my sins, failures and mistakes.  There was just too much.  No matter where I looked the table would have trohphies, but ALWAYS there would be garbage or some ofther filth.  It was SOO frustrating!  All I wanted was to be close to God!  I just wanted to throw all of that other stuff away and be with God.
Then I heard:
"Turn around."
So I started to turn around.  This is when I realized that I was on a swivel chair.  And, as I turned around, I saw that the table only went around me as far as I could see IF I kept looking at the things on the table.  When I turned to see the source of the voice, (I knew it was God) the table stopped and there was a gap in it.  I stood up and fell to my knees in the lap/ arms/ embrace of my Father.  
God said "At any point in any day at any time you can turn your back on these things and be with Me.  Your life is a table that you cannot control, But I have made a way for you to be free of it to be with Me away from the things and worries there."

I have tried this in situations in life, when things got too tough and (though God had to remind me) when things were going well.  I stopped and closed my eyes and just looked for God.  No expectations but to find Him.  And He has met me every time.  It's like this bubble in the core of who I am, around the "real-est" me where God is there and nothing else matters.  In that moment the world outside the  "bubble" comes a little better into perspective.

I really love God, but what's way cooler than that is that He really loves me.

Those with ears to hear, LET THEM HEAR. 

            This is for EVERY ONE!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

God Made Dirt; Dirt Don't. . . .

I heard this on the radio a long time ago:

Scientists had reached the peak of human development.  They now knew everything there was to know and had finally come to the conclusion that mankind no longer needed God.

So they went to God and said, "We don't need you anymore.  We know all there is to know and can do anything there is to do.  We want you to leave."

God being God and infinitely patient, looked at the scientists and said, "OK, let's have a contest.  You make a man in your own image, and I'll make one in Mine.  Whoever does it quickest and best wins, and the loser has to acknowledge that the winner doesn't need them."

The scientists talked this over and decided that this was an excellent idea.  So they set up a time with God for the contest and got down to business.   

On the day of the contest, God and the scientists met.  God looked at the scientists and said, "Are you ready?"

"Yes,"they replied.

"OK, GO!"

So the scientists bent down and began gathering up dirt, but God stopped them saying, "Hold on a second!"  The scientist looked at God, confused.  God looked back at them smiling and said,

 "Use your own dirt."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What People Will Trust. . .

A couple of years ago I was on my way to work. It was a 45 minute drive one-way but my employers were kind enough to provide me with a company vehicle. On one particular day, I happened to be thinking about the fact that it was a company vehicle and that if something were to happen while I was driving, it wouldn't be just me that would have to deal with the consequences. When I realized that I was thinking up "worst-case scenarios," I stopped and reminded myself that I hadn't been in an accident yet and not to "borrow trouble."
As soon as I thought the words "hadn't had an accident yet," I immediately "heard" half the people I knew saying "knock on wood." (It seems like people - yes, even Christians - are always saying stuff like that when you try to speak positively about your life. As if, if you aren't careful, you'll jinx yourself. *yech*) But, before I could do more than start to think how dumb the expression "knock on wood"is, I saw, in my mind's eye, a large beam of dark, rough and splintery wood. I still had the echo of "knock on wood" in my mind and I reached up to do it. As I did, the image of the beam "zoomed out" and I saw that the beam was the vertical beam of a cross. And as I looked, I saw Jesus' thorn pierced face turn and look at me, with eyes so sad and ironic, and he said:
"It's funny what people will trust, isn't it?"

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7