Friday, December 23, 2011

The Gift of the Greatest Love of All

Luke 2:10-11
10But the angel of the Lord said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

The angel of the Lord certainly gave good news. And it still is good news!!! We are in the season where everyone is focusing on purchasing the last minute gifts, cooking that tasty meal and getting ready to receive family. However, the greatest gift ever given to the world came to us through the most humble of women and in the most humble surroundings. His name is JESUS! The angel appeared to the shepherds who were in the fields watching over their flock. To be present for such an event that had been told hundreds of years prior had to be a complete honor. Many knew a Savior was coming but it was thought that he would deliver the people from Roman rule according to the NIV Study Bible. But Jesus, the greatest gift ever given to us, was for much more than banishing Roman rule, He has saved us from our sins and final death of our souls. Jesus was born as a gift for all us, but not everyone is ready to receive the gift of the greatest love of all; the gift of love and sacrifice that Jesus paid for us so that we can have life and life more abundantly. What's the greatest gift you've ever received? There's no way that any gift could compare with Jesus. No man is willing to lay down his life for an entire world the way Jesus has. He came so that two thousand years later, you, I and our future generations would be free. That's love and the true reason for this season.

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sometimes it's Gold Plated

Matthew 4:9
9"All this I will give you, "he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

Jesus was in the desert fasting for forty days when the devil tempted Him. Yes, even Jesus was tempted. The difference is, he didn't yield to the temptation which would've been sin. It's during our time in the desert that the devil will do what he did with Jesus. The desert can be any area of our lives that appear to be void of fruitfulness or life. He will attempt to convince us that what he has is worth us going against God. The devil took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed him kingdoms of the world and their riches. But the devil can't give what he doesn't own. For "every good and perfect gift is from God." So anything less than that isn't. What glitters isn't always pure gold, sometimes it's just gold-plated. According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, Gold-plated is:

a method of depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal, most often copper or silver (to make silver-gilt), by chemical or electrochemical plating.

So in other words, only the first layer is real and it's paper thin. Beyond it, a lessor metal exists. So beyond what initially glitters, what the devil shows will always be less than what God can give. But we have to still be able to see our way in the desert to not fall for the scheme. Like Jesus, we have to wait patiently and eat upon the word of God which is the bread of life. Everything looks good to one who is hungry but everything that looks good to you isn't good for you. The spiritual eye has to be sharp enough to see through gold plated opportunities.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Peace or Feast

Proverbs 17:1
1Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.

King Solomon noted that a family can lack plenty of things but if it has peace and quiet, it's more than enough. A house filled with food and everything beyond the imagination still lacks everything if it's full of strife. There's nothing more relaxing than a home that is filled with peace when one enters. We often take it for granted until we no longer have it. Peace of mind is just as important as the air we breathe. Peace means that everyone is on one accord and understands their role. Peace means that Jesus can be the center instead everyone's personal agendas and everyone sleeps better at night. Peace is easy to feel when one opens a door to a home, even if the refrigerator is empty. A right atmosphere is essential for growth and love. Having stuff doesn't make a house better if there's constant bickering. Strife is an indication of a couple of things. 1. someone is not on one accord with the Holy Spirit (meaning disobedience ), and  2. selfishness is somewhere in the mix. Satan loves to enter through these areas to cause even greater division as they are very much characteristic of him and he thrives on discord in the home. A commitment to resolve the strife or come to an agreement is necessary. Who is being hurt by strife in the home? Everyone, even the pets can sense strife and run for cover. What is more important to you? A peaceful home or needless things?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Now or With Your Last Breath

John 6:44
44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Jews were confused as Jesus called himself the bread of life. But the Jews couldn't get past the idea that he was the son of Joseph. Yes, Jesus was raised by Joseph but Joseph had nothing to do with his conception. For God sent the Holy Spirit to come upon the Virgin Mary to provide His seed. And that is why Jesus can say he came from heaven. Because he was not the seed of man but the seed of God. Jesus made a statement that it is God who draws men, women and children closer to Christ. In other words, no one can come to Christ without God seeking them. We believe that we are seeking God but it is God who sets the stage in our lives so that we will desire to draw closer to Him whether it is by our inept choices or the choices of others around us. He pursues us like a man who pursues a woman. He doesn't stop until He has succeeded in showing His love to us and us desiring to love Him in return. Jesus made it clear that anyone in Him would continue in Him and on the last day, He would raise them up and they shall enter heaven with Him. Maybe you didn't know that God has been chasing after you. And when you run from Him, He patiently waits until you come to the understanding that apart from Him, your life, our life, is meaningless. Have you been running from Him? Believe it or not, sooner or later, your life's circumstances will cause you to turn and run into His arms, whether it is now or with your last breath.

Monday, December 19, 2011

No Artificial Love

Song of Songs 2:7
7Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Song of Songs also known as Song of Solomon depicts the courtship and  marriage of King Solomon to the Shulammite woman. Marriage is the imagery most often used in the Bible to depict the relationship between Christ and the church because it's the strongest human relationship that exists, yes even more than children and parents. For it is the first relationship that God created on earth between two humans, man and woman in Genesis 2. King Solomon wrote of his intimate time with the Shulammite woman but he notes something very important. Daughters of Jerusalem refers to the maidens of the land as said in the NIV Study Bible. The gazelles and does would be considered witnesses during his intimate time with the Shulammite woman since they're spending time together in the field. But he makes a bold statement, "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." It refers to the idea of love being artificially stimulated through sex. God originally planned for sex to be enjoyed to its fullest between husband and wife. But here, if one goes that route, it can cause feelings of love that are not real. The love will be about the euphoric feeling one has through the act of sex. Interesting. It creates a bond that may not be true and therefore becomes blinding. True love cannot be artificially created. What is artificial? According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, artificial means:

1: produced by art rather than nature; also made by humans to imitate nature
2: not genuine: feigned

WOW! So artificial means our attempt to imitate nature or rather to imitate God. It is not the real thing. The real thing can only be created by God. So having sex prior to marriage is quite frankly attempts to imitate the marriage covenant that can only be sanctioned by God. So we as a society have attempted over and over to recreate what God did in Genesis 2 between Adam and Eve. What King Solomon says is that it is not to be til God desires. God is love therefore when God places in Adam the longing of not being alone, he has Eve for him but Adam has to open eyes to receive who his Eve is. More importantly, don't be clouded by anything artificial. What has God sanctioned for you? Sade says "No Ordinary Love" but with God it's "No artificial love."