…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
Who doesn’t like being on a victorious team? Victory is something we all want to experience. In fact, I have never met anyone who would choose defeat over victory. Human nature strives for victory. The late Paul “Bear” Bryant, award-winning coach at the University of Alabama, said, “The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”
Are we willing to endure the training and the vigor’s that will lead us to victory?
What is the greatest and most costly battle ever to take place? Who was the victor, and what was the reward?
The greatest battle ever fought was between good and evil. This great battle took place at Golgotha—also known as Mount Calvary—a rugged hill outside the walled city of Jerusalem.
Jesus Christ was Victor, paying the cost with His blood. The reward was the salvation of human souls.
Jesus had spent three years with 12 chosen men—His disciples. He had walked with them across the plains and through the valleys. He had sailed with them upon the waters. He’d sat with them on the mountains and taught them many things, including this: “The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again” (Matthew 20:18-19).
This was the very purpose of Jesus’ birth into our world. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. This is why the word Christmas starts with the word Christ.
Jesus gave his disciples a glimpse of what was to happen, but they did not comprehend that the Man they believed to be their King could ever fall into the brutal hands of mere men. They were focused on the Friend they called Master—the One who preached salvation and a coming kingdom, the One whom they believed to be the promised Messiah.
Jesus willingly died on the cross to identify with all those searching for truth. Are you among them? Have you heard what Jesus has said to you from the cross? You were there. I was there. Oh, it’s true that we hadn’t been born yet, but our sins were present that day. It wasn’t just the soldiers, thieves, religious leaders, and passersby who took part in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Our sins also nailed Him to the tree.
When Jesus hung on the cross, a great unseen cosmic battle raged in the heavens. And in the end Christ triumphed over all the forces of evil and death and hell, giving us the greatest of all hope—eternal forgiveness.
Though the cross repels, it also attracts. It possesses a magnetic quality. Once you have been to the cross, you will never be the same. The greatest vision of sin is at the cross, where we also see the greatest vision of love.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
This is what Christmas is all about.
If you hear Him speaking to you today, ask Him to forgive you.
Ask Him to come into your life and make you a brand new person.
The one He created you to be when He brought you into this world.
He will do it. He’s just waiting for you. Ask Him now…
I just love Christmas and all the trimmings. The lights, smell of good food, and the presents under the tree. It’s the season of joy, family and friends gathering together and just enjoying each other. That’s what I love about this holiday season. It’s a time of the year that you see things happen, that only happen around Christmastime.
But it’s hard to think that there are a lot of people who don’t have this kind of Christmas. I know that there are thousands of great organizations out there that are all about helping and giving to people like these, but I think that we have a tendency to really not see nor feel what this really means. It’s one thing, to reach into my pocket, and throw in a couple of dollars into the kettle of the person, who’s standing outside the store ringing that bell, but it’s an entirely different thing when it means me having to get out of my comfort zone, and step into the world of one who is lacking or just all alone.
You see, that is really giving when I have to give of myself, and my time, for the sake of someone else’s needs. Putting myself, my wants, my needs, and my desires all aside, for the opportunity to help lighten the load that someone else is carrying.
It’s always easy to talk about doing this, but when it comes right down to really doing it, I mean getting down into someone else’s world and feeling what they feel, and experiencing what they are experiencing, getting dirty and doing whatever I can to help them with that heavy load that they’re carrying…well that’s not always an easy jump to make.
You see I don’t want to break out of my routine for the holidays. My family and I have always done things in a certain way each year, and I feel that I would be rocking the cart of our family tradition, if I invited them to our Christmas celebration. I mean they aren’t really the kind of people that we hang around with, and what would my family think if I invited them over to our Christmas dinner?
I know that they don’t have that much, and they are in a tough place financially right now, but it’s kind of their own fault. I mean he hasn’t always been good with his money and I think she might have some issues as well.
I am speaking fictitiously, but have you ever caught yourself thinking like that? I know that I have at times, and it’s always just been an excuse that I use when I feel God prompting me to help someone out, or to step outside of my comfort area, and take care of a need that I know I can help out in.
Isn’t that what Jesus did?
He stepped way out of His comfort area, and came down into this muck and dirty planet will call earth, and lived right here with us. He took on the kind of life that we live, except He was without sin.
1John 3:5 “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.”
The dirt that we live in everyday had no effect on Him. At anytime He could have said, “I’m out of here, I don’t want to do this anymore,” but He didn’t. He stayed… as a matter of fact He stayed all the way to the end, and when it came time for the bill to be paid, He paid it. You and I couldn’t pay it, so He took the payment that we all had, and He paid it completely. He paid it with His own life, that’s how much He loves you and me.
John 15:13 “No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends”…
I was having breakfast with four business associates of mine, the other day, and when the bill came around, one of the guys took the bill and paid for everyone’s meal. That was a very nice think to do, and we all thanked him for that, but I could have paid for my own bill. I had the money, but in the case of my sins, I can’t pay the price for that because I don’t have what it takes. No one has the means to do that…the price is way to high.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God came into our world so that He could pay your way to come into His. That’s His gift to you and me, and to all of humankind. He’s just waiting for you to come and open the present that He has laid out for you today. Open it by asking Him to forgive you, and when you do that, he will not only have your free ticket to come and live with Him for all eternity, but He will also come and live inside of you right now, and start getting you ready to be with Him.
To learn more of God’s incredible gift to you and me, click on “My Christmas Gift From God”
Perhaps you might know someone or you just might happen to maybe see the same person everyday as you commute back and forth to work. They might be in a situation that is not very good, but if God is telling you to stop and talk to them, or maybe go beyond that point that is going to put you out of your comfort area, remember what God did for you. Listen to what God is asking you to do, and help someone out.
Did you know that there are certain chemicals that are released in our bodies whenever we give or do acts of kindness towards others? Try it out for yourself. Help someone out with anything, it doesn’t have to be something big, and see if you don’t feel better after you’re done. You have to have the right attitude, that you are doing this only because you can, and you are getting nothing in return…don’t even tell anyone else about what you’ve done, because that means you would be getting the accolades from everyone you tell. God sees and He knows what you did.
Maybe you can only help them carry that heavy burden for just a short while, and maybe you can’t really take it off of them or out-of-the-way, that’s OK. Do what you can. Jesus said…
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
You are never really a fully emotionally mature person, until you can give of yourself and of your time, and put yourself in the back burner of life, so that you can help someone else out, without ever asking or receiving anything in return…when you can do this, you have really done something.
Matthew 25:38-40 “When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.”
My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will open God’s gift to you, and then go out and help someone else open theirs.
I wish you and your families a very blessed and Merry Christmas.
May God bless you all.
Ah, the Christmas season. I love this time of year. My favorite time of year. I don’t know what it is but have you noticed that this time of year always invokes different modes and feelings in people. It always seems to bring out the best in people, even if it’s only one time of the year. They’re more charitable, giving and helpful. More people are willing to open up the pocketbook and help out in things that they normally wouldn’t do any other time of the year. I guess that’s one reason why I love Christmas so much.
But why are people so bright cheerful, and giving at this time of year? Why right now? Our economy is not doing well. and people are struggling to make ends meet. It’s just a tough time to be in the giving mood.
I saw a Christmas special the other night, and it was a special rebroadcast of “The Walton’s”. Remember that program? They had all the cast members, much older of course, and they were talking about making and doing the scenes from that special.
The time was during World War ll, and the Walton’s had kind of adopted these two young British kids, who had been separated from their parents during the bombing by the Germans. They were staying with them for awhile, and it showed all the adjusting and making do with what they had, while they were there. The one thing that really grabbed me, was how they didn’t hardly have anything, but they always had something to give to someone else, who had none. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Giving and sharing with those that don’t have anything?
I don’t know if your grand-parents or aunts and uncles, who lived during the great depression, are still around, but you might find it very interesting to ask them to recall some of those times. Maybe share some of their stories with you at this Christmas time.
Those people really struggled financially. Many of them had to move in with other family members and everybody did their part. My wife and I had one of our children and their kids, move in with us for awhile. It was not easy and their big adjustments that had to be taken by all, but we did it to help each other out. Many people are having to do that today.
You see, when times get tough, the tough get going. Something magical happens. You can either go one of two ways. You either sink or swim, but everybody has to be on the same page. Coming together is the only way anyone will make it, and it is a time when you will learn a lot about yourself. All the talk won’t be worth a hill of beans, it’s the actions that will show what your really made of.
It wasn’t just about meeting the physical needs of everyone, there were also feelings and emotions that were riding very high. Imagine having ten to twelve people living in a three bedroom house. Tight quarters and no place to go where you could be by yourself. Everyone had to carry around a lot more patience, understanding, and compassion. You had to learn that your needs were not always going to be first. Could we learn some of that today, and you know, we maybe heading for that again.
It’s easy to be benevolent when I just have to do it for three or four weeks out of the year, but lets see how I do for the next three or four years. We just may be heading for that, and some people are already there now.
Maybe we can learn something more this Christmas then just having a little bit more Christmas cheer. I mean do I really need five TV’s in my house? Is it really all that important for me to get the new IPad, when I already have two computers? There are people living on the street that don’t know where their next meal will come from. Their children are cold and hungry. These are not drunks or drug addicts, they are people with college educations, that had very good jobs and made a very good living. It’s all gone now. Can I give up something so I can help them?
There is a reason that Christmas is spelled with a capital C. It stands for Christ. His name is part of the word Christmas. He gave the ultimate sacrifice for you and for me. He had nothing. No job, no home, no gold and silver, no IPad’s that He could sell and give, all He had was a perfect sinless life to offer for your ransom and mine.
You see, the reason you and I will taste death, is because of our sin. The penalty for that sin, is death. All of humanity was plunged into Satan’s prison, because of the disobedience of our parents, Adam and Eve, that’s why only a perfect unblemished life could be offered as a payment for our ransom.
One thing that Satan never thought would happen, is that God Himself, would come down to this murky sin filled planet, and pay that ransom, and win our freedom back from Satan.
God came down to this earth in the form of a man, and that man’s name was Jesus Christ, who’s birth we celebrate on Christmas. Maybe that’s why people do good around Christmas because God initiated it by the giving of Himself for you and me.
I don’t care what religion you are, how or even if you celebrate Christmas, weather you say, “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”, it doesn’t change the facts of the real story of Christmas. It’s not about a little baby in a manger, but a risen savior, who opened the way to God for you and me. All we have to do…is walk in it.
That’s why Christmas is spelled with a capital C.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son, that whosoever should believe in Him, would not perish, but have ever-lasting life.” John 3:16