There must be more to Christmas
I really think we’re missing something
There must be more to Christmas
Lights. Camera. Action.
Isn’t that how Christmas seems to go? And that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with fun and decorations and a little healthy gift wrapping. But. We can’t forget the reason for it all. Not just now, but all year. I know we talk a lot about how people have missed the true meaning of Christmas, but if we’re honest what people have missed is the true meaning of life. Jesus wasn’t meant to stay under our Christmas tree, He was meant to be a part of our day to day lives. In Evie’s song a Shepherd’s prayer, the little shepherd begs to be moved closer to the savior. He wants to touch Him, to hold His hand. He isn’t satisfied by looking at the baby from a distance. We need to be like that. Not satisfied with just a short service at Christmas to remember Jesus, but instead to be obsessed with being with Him. I know talking about obsession isn’t popluar, and being a fanatic is claimed as wrong, but to have a sole focus on Christ isn’t a bad thing, if He is all we see then we will live better and do better. There must be something more, but what?
It’s not what, it’s who.
Jesus is our something more. We need Him, but we forget that and only give Him what is basic. He didn’t forget us, and He gave us everything not even sparing His own life. There must be more to Christmas. There must be more to this life. And that more, is Jesus.
And what of your promise now? -Judah
All I can say is, I don’t understand, but He must have a reason for this.-Man of God
At the foot of the cross.
It’s so hard when the promise’s outcome isn’t how we envisioned. Imagine how the deciples must have felt when they saw Jesus lifted on the cross.
There must be a mistake.
Must have been their thought. How could everything they had seen and experienced and been told, have led to this?
If they had read the prophecies they would have had the answer. But in that moment of agony of spirit the last thing on your mind is a prophecy from so long ago. Just like our promises. We read promises from God that He proclaimed some 2000+ years ago, and we are expected to believe them and hold to them. When things get hard and nothing makes sense, and the promise leads to something you don’t understand it’s hard to not feel like there must be a mistake- and what of your star and your promise now? Yet God has a reason, for all of it. What Isaiah foretold about Jesus coming, probably never crossed the minds of the weary shepherds when the star appeared. What had been fortold about Jesus’s death was no where in the minds of the deciples in the Garden, or at the tomb, maybe not even in The Upper Room. But God fulfilled His promise in every occasion. Just as He will fulfill His promise to you and me.
He’s coming back, just as He promised. Are you ready?
Growing in God is something we hear a lot.
“I’m just growing in God.”
“Don’t forget to grow in God.”
“Always grow in God.”
But what does grow in God mean? What visual does that statement give you? I used to picture a sapling, growing into a tree. But lately I’ve had a different visual. Video Games. Hang on, don’t run away yet. Let me explain. Recently I was reminded of my short stint as an avid gamer, and that brought to mind this simili. I had a game for a time… actually I think it’s still in my closet, anyway- this game was a progressive story arc type. You know, you have an avitar and you follow the cheracter on different quests and so on. I recall the peace of the starter village. Old fashioned cabins, cathedrals and pretty brick bridges. You could walk and never see a monster all day. But as you leveled up the game obviously grew harder. Eventually I reached a level where I had to look up the hacks to pass it. Monsters were everywhere and they didn’t die no matter how hard you attacked them. The only way to win that level was to let your character lose all his or her strength, right before your avatar was down for the count you would get a bonus strength boost, and that was the only way to win. What do I mean by all this?
When we first become Christians it’s nice to go to church, maybe bake for a potluck, perhaps you will even read your Bible once in a blue moon. It’s nice and quiet with no work. But. That’s not how we are meant to stay. We are intended by God to level up. And as we level up things will get harder, because the devil wants to keep us low and weak. Say you keep going. Level after level. Praying every day, reading your Bible with conviction, volenteering at your Church and Church events, maybe even branching into missions work. With each level you grow, but with each level the monsters seem to increase. One day you find yourself in an abandoned town with monsters that refuse to die. Why? Because you are doing things right. Thay doesn’t make sense, does it? But the devil is fighting against you. Whatever that monster is. An illness, debt, a habit, or something less personal, like how the world has gone and the darkness and sin taking over. Everywhere you see the monsters. You have fought and fought and now you are on your last life. But don’t forget. As you were leveling up and growing, God was growing with you. Not that He was ever small, but maybe He was small inside you because you hadn’t let Him grow yet. Now you have been growing in God and God has been growing in you, so when your last life comes up blinking and your avatar gets fuzzy, don’t give up! Hold down the A and Y buttons and use your power boost to kill those monsters. In other words, use your trump card. Pray. Talk to God and use His power within you to win the battle and reach the final level. You are never fighting or growing alone, God is right there, you just need to reach for Him.
So go on friends. Level up. Grow with God.
A hearthorse is that one horse who loves you more than himself. He will do anything you ask, even when the other horses give up and walk away. Why? Training for one thing. And he has a heart for you. He loves you so much he would walk through fire for you. Most horses would dump you on your tush and bolt if they even smelled a big fire. Not your heart horse. He will carry you through and trust that you know what you’re doing. Do we have a heart for God like that? A heart that says “you lead. I’ll follow. Because I trust in you.”
I like to think that I do. Then I have a day like today. It was a great and fun day, but I failed God badly. There was a woman with a painful and injured hand. I knew I should pray for her but I was afraid, I was afraid of being laughed at and afraid that maybe God would choose not to heal her and then she might doubt God. I feared a lot of dumb stuff, so I did nothing and left. Praise Jesus for my friend who was there too. She took the time to look around, see a large line up behind her of people waiting to go through the check out and said, “I see you are in pain. I promise I will pray for you.” Then we left. And she did. She prayed whole heartedly for that woman. I don’t know if the woman was healed or not because we didn’t see her again, but I do know that my friend pleased God by making a faith statement in public. And I know that I dissapointed Him because I said nothing. Do we have a heart for God? Do we love Him enough to walk through fire for Him? If not, how do we change ourselves to love Him more? I’m not an expert, but I would say from what I read of the Bible, that reading the Bible and praying is the way to draw closer to God. A great way to be fired up for Him is studying Him and remembering how Holy and powerful He truly is.
I don’t want to fail God. But I do everyday. I want a heart for Him, but I know that fear often holds me back. I am just so glad that God understands how limited I am and helps me and guides me and gives me another chance 10, 000 times a day. Praise God for His mercy, power and love.
Before we get started I want to make it clear that yes, I do know that a blood fuller has been proved to have nothing to do with the channeling of blood through the sword’s channel to cause the removal of the blade to be easier or for the target to die quicker. Instead the Fuller is meant to strenghthen and lighten the long blade so it doesn’t wobble like a plastic child’s sword, this was arguably first used in Japan’s Katana swords.
Now that we have covered the facts, I want to use the old myths for my imagery instead. The blood channel full and ready to strike. Weilding with passion and quickly removed to continue it’s defense.
The sword of the warrior, coated in blood and ready to strike again.
The blood channel, as a grizzly image of destruction and strength. Destruction of the enemy. Strength of the defender.
The Holy Spirit is misrepresented in many places these days. He is seen as a fluttering White butterfly, harmless, gentle, powerless. This is not accurate. Yes the Holy Spirit is gentle and unassuming -but- he is still the spirit of the Living God. When God sent his sword through Egypt did you see him as weak, harmless, or powerless? Of course not. He is the spirit of God. He is powerful. He is Ageless. And he is a warrior, and we forget that. We like to think of the Spirit as someone who encourages us and helps us with our gifts and helps us not do naughty things, which is true in part, but He is also bloodstained and ready for battle. He isn’t a pixie flying around causing magic to happen, He IS the powerhouse inside of us battling our demons with us. He isn’t floating around with a harp, he is walking boldly with his sword drawn, ready for battle. The devil is constantly attacking us, even in ways we don’t see, it’s the Holy Spirit in us who is battling for us. God called the sword of the Spirit a sword for a reason.
Going into battle in the days before guns and bombs your greatest weapon was usually your sword. Swords also had a certain claim that came with them, a claim to authority and power, not just anybody had a sword, usually only people a heritage whose background and bloodline gave them a title and a power. Sure some of your average people had swords too, but not high quality swords. Some swords even had a reputation of their own, one that the wielder inherited with the weapon. Our sword. Our Spirit, comes with His own reputation, the reputation of God and all He has done in the past long before the book of Acts. God mentions His Spirit and His Sword often. He has a reputation, but we don’t read the old Testament so we forget. Our sword also comes with a claim to Authority and power; the authority and Power of the Living God. And we have earned this sword not through our own works but through our heritage as children of God. Our bloodline has nothing to do with our DNA or our ancestry, our bloodline that grants us this power and authority in this earth is the bloodline flowing Down the Cross at Calvary and washing our feet in its Crimson Tide. Our sword is a weapon of power and authority. The spirit of God lives inside of us. Whom can harm us? And of whom shall we be afraid?
In a world full of Indigos and Wesleys, be a Fesic.
If you have ever watched or read Princess Bride (one my fave movies) you will know these three main characters. Indigo was obsessed with avenging his father’s murder, Westley was consumed by saving and reuniting with his love Buttercup, but what was Fesic’s motive? He was the giant. He used his strength many times to save these people. But why did he bother? He gave up everything. All his money went to Mad Max the healer to save Westley so he could help Indigo and rescue Buttercup. He risked his life attacking the prince’s palace. He even let them set his cloak on fire when storming the castle gate. Why? What was in it for him?
There was nothing in it for him. Indigo was his friend, Westley was in need of help. That was it. That was the only incentive he needed to give everything he had to them. It was a Christ like sacrificial love. Giving your all with nothing to gain.
Even for people we have known most of our lives it’s easy to feel that we have given a lot to them and deserve something in return. Loyalty maybe. Sacrifice on their part for us once in awhile. And when that doesn’t happen it makes us angry. Maybe that friend has even betrayed us in the past and yet we kept giving, but getting nothing back and nothing out of the deal has left a raw spot on our hearts. And yet. Christ keeps giving even though we have hated His people and have crucified Him. We have all been Paul on the road to Demascus at one point or another. Oh, we weren’t killing other Christians most likely, but we were hating them, we were angry, we were running from God, we were cursing Him for something at sometime, or even being mean because we saw ourselves as holy and other Christians as not. We have all ended up here, seeking Jesus because we have been knocked off our horse and now know we were wrong. But even in our cruelty we have been loved by Jesus.
Fesic didn’t expect anything for his sacrifice. He just knew it was the right thing to do.
Indigo might be cooler and Westley more glamorous, but Fesic was the true hero, like Frodo wouldn’t have made it without Sam in Lord of the Rings, Wesley and Indigo wouldn’t have made it without Fesic. Be a Fesic, be sacrificial for others and expect that your only reward is in Heaven with Jesus and that it will be greater then any reward here on earth.
As my mom once said: we are in the boat with Jesus. Our muscles are straining as we pull on the nets, we’re working hard and He’s there, and He’s calm. Our lives are in that boat with Him as we are called to follow Him, we are given nets to catch the fish with and we get tired and stressed because we are working hard with no resault. We repair the nets, we weave new nets, somedays we may even need to build the boat, but it all has purpose. Then when God’s time is right our nets fill to overflowing. So if you feel discouraged, don’t. Don’t get discouraged because God is in the boat with you.
God cares about so much!
We all get caught up in the master plan that we forget that He also cares about the little things, the day to day things that probably have no effect on the master plan at all. Like when you get a cold and ask to feel better, or when you plan to go to the park and pray that it doesn’t rain, or lose something and ask to find it. None of that matters for the big plan for your future! If you can’t walk in the park or don’t feel better from your cold makes no difference to the end resault of your life. You could spend your whole exisitance never finding your lost gold hoop earings and it wouldn’t change a thing in God’s master plan, but it matters to you so it matters to God. He care about more than your destiny, He cares about you.
There is nothing wrong with loving the Bible from the place of a broken person trying to find the heart of God. You don’t have to perfect and then come to Jesus. Come to Him first and He will perfect you. You will never get to place where you are holy as Christ, you can’t, it isn’t possible. But that’s why we chase after God, because He is the only one who is perfect and Jesus is the only way into Heaven, our greatest works, even to give until we have nothing and to die for the sake of another is nothing without Jesus, it won’t get us anywhere without Him. We are all broken people, unable to measure up to the glory and ritchousness of God, but that doesn’t mean we should run away from Him, but instead run to Him. All He wants is a repentive heart that wants to change. A heart that knows it needs Him. A broken heart knows who the Healer is and is ready to be loved and fixed and made whole. Love Jesus in your brokenness and let Him love you into a whole new person.
Today my dog and I became lost while hiking. I was sure I knew where we were…until I didn’t. Down a trail overgrown with trees and weeds we ended up in a field. I thought I knew which field…but I didn’t. We walked and walked and all I could see was rolling crops and a shed and a tractor. I reasoned that a tractor meant life, but how far away was that life. We had two hours till dark and I knew I would rather be caught in the dark in that field then back down the trails where we get bears and cougars, and ghosts and monsters if my old camp leader is to believed. We had seen tracks that could easily have been a cougar earlier that day and though I figured it probably wouldn’t bother us I also knew that my JRT would make it his mission to catch said cougar if he saw it and that could be bad.
What’s my point in this story?
There were moments when I felt nervous. Moments when I was sure we might spend the night in that guys crops. However I never felt alone. I find hiking is where I talk to Jesus outloud. No one around. The beauty of creation filling my senses. I spent the time talking with Him and knew I was safe even if we spent the night out there. He knew that beyond the second grove of trees was a road that would take me to the main road and lead me back to camp, but I didn’t know that. I simply had an uncanny sense of peace as I walked with Him.
When you are lost and don’t know where the road is, trust Jesus, talk with Him, He knows the way home.