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Monday, November 26, 2012

Holidays: Christmas Edition 2012

Merry Christmas everyone! I have decided to hopefully give you some new thoughts on Jesus and his birth. I actually wrote this post up in May, and it's finally the right time of year to post it!
Jesus Christ was born in a manger for one reason. Humility.

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Corinthains 9:19-23

Paul is like Jesus because while Jesus is a king and ruler of the world, he became a like everyone else to win as many as possible. The king was willing to humble himself and be born in a manger. Jesus put himself lower than some of us are.
There are a lot of ministries that help people, I’ll take Samaritans Purse for example, an origination provides for the needy people of the world.
But there are very few people who will become poor to help the poor or homeless to help the homeless. Don’t take this the wrong way. I think Samaritans Purse is a great company and I am not trying to criticize them, but trying to say that Jesus did more than help people he became like those he was trying to help to win as many as possible.
We want to help people without sacrificing our comfort. Just be glad Jesus doesn't feel the same.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Philippians 2:5-7

Jesus took the low place with his birth, life, and even death. I doubt he was ever envied, especially as he died nailed to a tree.
When a king a queen have a child, everyone know about it, but only high classed people are allowed to see the child. In Jesus’ case, his father sent his messenger (an angel) to low class smelly peasants (Shepherdsso that they could see the newborn king.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you
Luke 2:11

Look at the last word of Luke 2:11. YOU. For unto the low class Jesus has been born not to the nobles or kings, but to those who work with sheep. And they were most likely the first to see Jesus besides Mary and Joseph.
Jesus wasn’t even average, he was considered below average. He became below average to reach those below average. If you have read about Jesus life, then you know that Jesus was despised by the Pharisees (the above average). If Jesus wanted to reach them, he would become above average, but he didn’t want to. He wanted to reach those who were poor.
Even as a baby, the high ranking people did not like Jesus. King Herod tried to kill Jesus as infant because he misunderstood Jesus. He thought that Jesus was for the upper class, and didn't want to except that.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
John 1:10-11

Even today, the world does not receive God. Instead of saying "Merry Christmas" we say "Happy Holidays" or "happy Xmas" People have marked Jesus out of the picture with a great big X over his name.
Even in the modern world his own do not receive him. The people of today want to be in darkness, so they reject the light.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves
Colossians 1:13

The only reason we are in the light and accepted it is because God forgives. And he forgives because Jesus was willing to be rejected by the human race. He was willing to be mocked and beaten up.

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.
Luke 1:46-55

This is Mary’s song Mary sang this before Jesus was born. “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” Mary understood that Jesus wasn’t here for the rich. She knew that the rich wouldn't even want Jesus. If the rich were hungry, then Jesus would have given them some food...and there was a small amount of rich people who were "hungry" (Like Nicodemus, the Pharisee (See John 3 for more information))  She knew that he was here for the poor, the ones who knew that they need Jesus. The poor knew they were hungry, but the rich thought that they were full. Mary understood that God chose her to carry his son because of “the humble state of his servant.” Mary understood the humbleness that was in the manger.
Are you ready for Christmas? Be sure you don't get caught up in the celebrations, and remember to celebrate Jesus.

Here are a few Articles and Blog posts that are insightful and I would recommend reading this Christmas:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

The Bible

Photo credit:
Jesus nailed to the Cross:
Christ(x)mas: Me

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Daily Reminders #6

Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:11-14

Photo Credit:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012

After enduring religious persecution in their native England and for twelve years in Holland, the pilgrims sailed for America. They were modest men and women with a great hope and inward zeal. They rested in the providence of God that He was leading them to a land of religious freedom to advance the gospel of the kingdom of Christ.
The voyage of the Mayflower took twice as long as Christopher Columbus' voyage, enduring several wintry storms. After arriving in their new land, they faced disease, famine, bitter cold and many dangers. However, when the Mayflower made its return voyage, none of the pilgrims returned with it.
Their first harvest occurred in the autumn of 1621. Their own seed had barely grown, but the Indians had shown them how to plant corn which yielded a huge harvest. On the first Thanksgiving, they celebrated God's goodness to them with a party of ninety Indians. Their Thanksgiving feast lasted three days and included a festival of sports.
Thanksgiving Proclamation
by Abraham Lincoln
"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may be then, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on the occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations."
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving... be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4

Thanks to DaySpring cards for the word to this post. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Our corn did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown.  They came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom.  Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.  They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week.  At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others.  And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.
-Edward Winslow
Autumn Stream
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
-Psalm 95:1-6
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
-1 Chronicles 16:8-12

The following has been written by Elaine Stedman:

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High. (Psalm 50:14).
What does God want from us? He does not want mere hymn singing, although that is fine. Nor does He want only prayer, although that too is fine. He does not simply want our attendance, although that is fine. What He wants, first, is a thankful heart. That is what He seeks, a thankful heart. Each one of us is to offer to Him the sacrifice of thanksgiving. A sacrifice is something into which we put effort; it costs us. Have you ever asked yourself why the Scriptures stress thanksgiving so much? Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize that above everything else, God wants thankfulness. Give thanks in all circumstances, says the apostle Paul, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Why is this? It is because thanksgiving only comes as a result of having received something. You do not give thanks until you have received something that comes from someone else. Therefore thanksgiving is the proper expression of Christianity, because Christianity is receiving something constantly from God.
Of course if you have not received anything from God, then you have nothing to thank Him for. Though you come to the service, you really have nothing to say. God is a realist. He does not want fake thanksgiving. I know there are certain people (and they are awfully hard to live with) who think that Christianity consists of pretending to be thankful. They think it means screwing a smile on your face and going around pretending that troubles do not bother you. That is a most painful form of Christianity. God does not want you to go around shouting, Hallelujah! I've got cancer! But there is something about having cancer to be thankful for. That is what He wants you to see. There are aspects of it that no one can possibly enjoy, but there are other aspects that reveal purpose, meaning, and reason. God wants you to see this--what He can do with that situation and how you can be thankful. Thanksgiving is the first thing He wants in worship.
The second thing is an obedient will. Fulfill your vows to the Most High. Notice the kind of obedience it is. It is not something forced upon you; it is something you have chosen for yourself. A vow is something you decide to give, a promise you make because of truth you have seen. You say, I never saw it like that before. I really ought to do something about it. God helping me, I'm going to do such and such. That is a vow. God says, I'm not asking you to do things you have not yet learned are important. But when you have vowed something, then do it. Act on it. Obey it.
Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to if the copy is posted on the Internet.

And now for a little bit from me!

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
- Genesis 4:3-7

That's a pleasant first thanksgiving, now isn't it. 
People like to say thanksgiving was first when the pilgrims had it, but think of Cain and Abel. They were giving an offering to please God. (Which is really what thanksgiving is, remembering to please God)
Cain had a green thumb and so he figured he'd give God an offering of food instead of lamb, and God didn't like it.

By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
- Hebrew 11:4

God wants us to offer what we can. I think if Cain had brought his best fruit, then God would be please, but it only says Able brought his best.
So I'll leave you with this: You are offering something to God so are you offering him your best lamb, or your tiny, shriveled fruits?

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Inspirations for this post:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Was the Cross "Plan B?"

First, I'll start by say these are not my ideas! I took the following from Answers in genesis because I found this article interesting. Enjoy. 

Was Jesus’s death on the Cross a result of God’s best-laid plans gone wrong? Did human sin take God by surprise? Was there an emergency plan B forced upon the Creator of the universe after the Fall in Genesis? The question might be restated this way: Did the Bible’s redemptive history in a fallen creation result from an eternally wise and powerful God’s purposeful plans, or was it His attempt to remedy an unforeseen tragedy?
If the Fall in Genesis was a surprise to God, we would certainly have some major questions to ask. For instance, how could we be confident that another surprise won’t happen in the new heavens and earth yet to come? How could we be confident that God’s plan of redemption will actually work?
To find these answers we must look into the subject of God’s eternal wisdom and gain a miniscule glimpse of the riches of God’s glory. There is, however, a word of warning. Many theologians through the ages have wrestled tirelessly as they have gazed into the eternal wisdom and counsels of a triune God. We can only dip our toe into this infinite ocean.
It is certainly difficult for us as finite humans to understand the concept of infinite wisdom. After all, we are talking about the kind of wisdom that is the predetermined purpose behind all the works of an almighty God, from creation to Christ’s redemption at the Cross, and the yet-to-happen final consummation when He returns. The Bible reveals clearly that behind every work of God is His wisdom from eternity past. “The Lord possessed me [wisdom] at the beginning of His work, the first of His acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth” (Proverbs 8:22–23).
The design of an atom, the color of a rainbow, the information in a strand of DNA, and countless other wonders—including the very breath of life—all started not just at a point in time but in eternity past according to God’s eternal wisdom.
God’s eternal wisdom is simply amazing. It is not just a selection of clever sayings that we should study simply so that we might somehow be more knowledgeable. God’s wisdom is the display of His power. As He follows through on His plans, we see that His purpose is sure and His will is certain. What other being has power like this? “Then I [wisdom] was beside Him, like a master workman, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always” (Proverbs 8:30).
God’s eternal wisdom displays His true deity. While man has been created with a capacity for wisdom, only God’s wisdom is infinite and omnipotent. Only God’s wise purposes are 100% certain and drive everything else to display His ultimate glory. Paul expresses this truth beautifully in his writings about the redemption of both Jew and Gentile. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? . . . For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33–36).
God’s will and purposes aren’t random. They pursue a single objective: the glory of Christ. Nowhere better are the riches of God’s eternal wisdom on display than in the person and work of Jesus Christ, in whom “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
Through the wisdom that is displayed in Christ, we are also able to discern the vain philosophies of fallible mankind. Any philosophy that does not place God’s glory as the pinnacle focus is empty of real wisdom.
Look at the sweep of the plans that God is fulfilling through Christ: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15–17). Christ both ordains and accomplishes all, and He does this in fulfillment of God’s eternal plans.
As the One who is before all things, He providentially rules over all things as He pleases. Christ is the sovereign Lord. He does not make choices willy nilly; nor is He surprised by anything that happens on earth—even Adam’s original sin. He is the unchangeable God, and what He purposed before the world was created will certainly happen. Nothing can change those plans.
No, Jesus went to the Cross exactly as God had intended before the world began. “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23).
Jesus is the very design and accomplishment of God’s eternal wisdom. The plan of redemption was not a necessary afterthought to remedy a plan gone wrong. Jesus Christ had purposed to redeem us from eternity past. His work on the Cross is nothing short of the pinnacle of the revelation of God’s eternal and sovereign wisdom.
This means that when you have faith in Jesus Christ, His promise of salvation is as sure as God’s eternal power. No surprises, just the execution of eternal wisdom.
Taken from Answers in Genesis:

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Splendor of Thorns

First, I'll start by say these are not my ideas! I took the following from Answers in Genesis because I found this article interesting. Enjoy. 

Can you imagine the Wal-Mart floral department offering a bouquet of thorns? Does the Garden Center ever advertise Acacia thorn bushes? Do carpenters choose two-by-fours made of thorn wood?
Except for our botanist friends, few people find thorns captivating. They are not beautiful. And they don’t seem very useful, though they do burn extremely well.
The negative associations of thorns are what make their appearance in the Bible so intriguing, for God weaves these very thorns into the revelation of His grace. He gives them a star role in the unfolding drama of His judgment and unbelievable mercy.
“Thorns and thistles” (a Hebrew phrase referring to the entire class of thorns) were not in the original creation (Genesis 3:18). When man sinned, God cursed the ground with thorns—a negative, hurtful, even repulsive element that intruded into the original creation’s perfection.
Every pricked finger, every overgrown field, every ugly thornbush, reminds us of the frustrating pain of sin and its hideous blotch on the canvas of God’s masterpiece. Thorns have all the natural charm of Magic Marker on a Monet painting.
At first glance, the perfection of the pre-Fall world seems forever lost because of unsightly thorns. But God has woven these thorns into a beautiful plan.

Thorns appear next in the Bible as the burning bush.1

Both Jesus and Stephen use a special Greek word to describe this bush’s thorny nature. Stephen describes the scene in Exodus with these words: “in the flame of a burning thorn bush” (Acts 7:30, NASB). Jesus says the same thing in Luke 20:37.
So why did God choose to appear inside thorns at this dreadful mountain, where He later gave the Law—a law that serves only to remind us of our failure (Galatians 3:10–4:25Hebrews 12:18–24)?
When God later visited that same holy mountain to give the Law, it was so deadly that any human or beast that merely touched the mountain would be killed (Exodus 19:12). So why didn’t the thorns—that combustible remnant of the Curse—explode in flame when the Holy One, in fire, first appeared to Moses?2
The whole event at the burning bush is almost a parody of the Curse in Eden. The One who appeared in the Garden and pronounced the curse of thorns now reappears in the midst of thorns, promising deliverance. Ultimately, He promises a land flowing with milk and honey. How can these things be?
The enigma of the thorns continues in God’s revelation. The next time we meet thorns, God instructs Moses to build a tabernacle.
The raw material of that tabernacle is Acacia wood (Exodus 26:29), a small tree or bush whose branches are covered with long thorns. God then directs that they cover this thorn wood with gold (Exodus 26:29).
Now, why would God take a cursed element of the Fall and beautify it with gold? How can thorns, fit only for fire, become the glorious dwelling place of the fiery pillar of God’s presence?
The last place Israel encamps before they enter the Promised Land was called Abel-Shittim, which means “the Field of Thorns” (Numbers 25:1Joshua 2:1). Israel was living in the Field of Thorns because the lawgiver Moses had not fully obeyed the law (Deuteronomy 32:49–51). He must perish without entering the Promised Land.
Disobedient Moses could only gaze from afar, pining for that land, pleading with God in vain to go in.
The people of Moses thus languish in the Field of Thorns, longing for that promised Prophet, who was like Moses, but better—that utterly perfect prophet, priest, and king who would accomplish all things that other men from dust failed to do.
In the Old Testament, God foreshadows that One who will come after Moses. His Hebrew name is Joshua, “Yahweh saves.” Greeks would translate his name as Iesous (Jesus). God the Father points to this connection between Joshua and Jesus when He commands, “You shall call His name Jesus (Iesous), for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus is that promised Prophet like Moses, but much more than a prophet. He is the One to lead God’s people into Paradise.

Thorns find a role in the climax of this divinely crafted plan of redemption. Jesus, tortured in anticipation of crucifixion, was mocked while wearing a crown of thorns. The “thorns and thistles” of Eden’s Curse now became this mocking crown.
God first promised His people redemption when He appeared in the midst of thorns at the Mountain of the Law (Mount Sinai). To fulfill that promise, Jesus appeared in thorns again, but this time bearing the curse of Mount Sinai’s law. He wore the crown we earned by our rebellion in Adam and by the years of ratifying Adam’s choice as we sin every day.
The beauty of thorns is that they remind each of us of God’s lavish—almost foolishly lavish (1 Corinthians 1:23)—grace upon us. He died for us, absolutely guilty sinners, whose sin caused those thorns to so mar God’s creation and Christ’s brow.
Adam and Eve attempted to usurp God’s place as the only lawgiver in Zion. God would have been just to hang them on their tree of rebellion—like the rebellious kings of Canaan who were cursed by God for all Israel to see (Joshua 10:26).
But God had a different plan. God the Son stepped out of eternity. He took human flesh on Himself, lived under the law in perfect obedience, and then suffered all the punishment due Adam, and all of those who would ever come to Jesus.
God the Son wore the thorns. On behalf of rebellious mankind, He allowed Himself to be stripped naked and hung on that tree, cursed by God. Just like those kings of Canaan who were hung by Joshua, Jesus was hung and then His body was placed in a garden cave, with a stone over its mouth (Joshua 10:27)! But death could not hold Jesus.
God intends to transform us, the descendants of the rebels in Eden, entangled as we are with thorns. He will turn us into a kingdom of priests. In fact, we ultimately are a new temple, the heavenly temple, where the holy, fiery, triune God dwells with His redeemed people forever (2 Corinthians 6:16).
The story of the Bible is this. Adam comes naked to a live tree and spiritually murders the entire human race by a single act of disobedience. Jesus comes to a dead tree and allows Himself to be stripped naked. Then, in the ultimate act of obedience—His very death after a lifetime of full and total obedience to God—He makes alive all those who would ever by God’s grace repent of their sins and trust in Him alone for salvation.
As Eve had encouraged her husband in his rebellion against God, Jesus’s love for His bride, the church, motivates and enables her to obey God from her heart. Adam took from his wife food which kills. Jesus, by His death, provides all grace, enabling us to partake of eternal life.
Through Christ, thorns take on a whole new meaning because they focus our thoughts on God’s plan of redemption, worked out through the centuries. While Adam’s sin disrupted the beauty of God’s creation, the Son of God came to earth to set things right, which brings beauty even to thorns.
Taken from:
"Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
1 Corinthians 15:55b-56

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Does the Sun Confirm Scripture?

So I get the Answers Weekly from Answers in Genesis, and I found today's topic interesting

Q: How does the sun’s temperature confirm Scripture?

A: Evidence now supports astronomers’ belief that the sun’s power comes from the fusion of hydrogen into helium deep in the sun’s core, but there is a huge problem. As the hydrogen fuses, it should change the composition of the sun’s core, gradually increasing the sun’s temperature. If true, this means that the earth was colder in the past. In fact, the earth would have been below freezing 3.5 billion years ago, when life supposedly evolved.
But evolutionists acknowledge that there is no evidence of this in the geologic record. They even call this problem the faint young sun paradox. While this isn’t a problem over many thousands of years, it is a problem if the world is billions of years old.

And here's a continuation of the answer: