2012 And Counting

The year 2012.  People always see a new year as a fresh start.  A clean slate.  Though really its just another year isn’t it?  Our troubles of 2011 are still lingering with us, the debt we owe from 2011 still haunts us.  But somehow we expect January 1st to magically make all that disappear.  We expect midnight to fall and everything will be happy again.  But it doesn’t work that way does it?  The year 2012 is the same as any other year.  There will be progress, new inventions, new songs and movies and tv shows.  But it has the same holidays, same amount of days in a year, you still have to work, and get sick.  It’s possible someone close to you will even pass away this year.  The clock ticks and tocks the same exact way, and the numbers never change.  The sun still rises in the east and still sets in the west.  The poverty in third world countries will continue, and those living with little income, still have to live paycheck to paycheck.  Because after January ends, people forget that its a new year, and just see it as another year they have to survive.

So in reality when you look at the new year approaching, and you actually look past the 1st of January, does the new year look better to you?  Or does it look the same as last year, just with new materialistic things of this world.  In humanities eyes, 2012 is just another year that they have to live through.  And it seems like despite the rumors, they will continue on, living the way they always have, with one resolution at a time.

So what is the point in even celebrating new years?  Because you have another year of life that you must fight to survive in?  We can climb the ladder of success but we will still struggle.  But the new years celebration was not intended to be celebrated with sadness or in vanity with alcohol and noise makers and passionate kisses.  But with the thankfulness of God’s love.  Because from the beginning of the very first year, God loved us.  He created us, formed us, and made us.

Have you ever wondered why you are here?  Why God created you?  Was it to satisfy a hidden need in Him?  Was it because God was bored just hanging around forever in empty space doing nothing.  Maybe it was because He was just curious and wanted to know what would happen if He made a bunch of people and put them on a planet in the middle of nowhere.  The Bible doesn’t specifically say why God made us, but it does say that he created us.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:1

But why are we even here?  Simple answer.  Because God loves us.  In the book of Genesis we see that God walked with Adam and Eve.  And that even after they sinned and turned their back on God,  God came looking for them.  He called for them and longed for them.  Even after they deliberately disobeyed Him, God still shed blood to make atonement for their sins when He made garments of skin as clothes for them.  Because God loved us.  And nearly 2000 years later, God calls Moses to make a tabernacle so that God can be with His people.  He continues to search for His people.  Even in the new testament He continues to search out His people nearly 4000 years after the fall of man.

“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God… and the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1, 14

And even today He longs to be with His people.  Though the bible says the wages of sin is death and death is what we deserve as sinners, God took that death from us, so He can be with us, because He Loves Us!

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love… He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgression from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Ps 103:8,10-14 (NIV) 

He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. 1 John 4:8

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We should celebrate new years not because the past is behind us, or that our future is better, but that God is still calling for His people.  He is still searching for His bride, He is waiting for us, knocking at our door.  We should celebrate new years with thankfulness that God is still looking!  Look at what the word says here,

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son; that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

So what should 2012 be all about?  Let our Resolution/Revelation to come out of the bushes we are hiding in and let God find us.  To allow God to be with us.  To open our hearts door and let Him in.  Celebrate the New Years, by Celebrating God’s Love!

Happy 2012 New Years!!!


The True Meaning.

Pagan Holiday?

Christmas.  The season of joy, love, family, and giving.  Considered the happiest season of all.  Some places wish others well on this season by saying Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas, and then those who just say Happy Holidays.  We see Christmas lights and evergreen trees decked with silver and gold, and other bright colors.  We smile when we hear people singing and caroling.  A time where families come home to spend time with loved ones.  Mistletoe is hung and the Christmas classics such as Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer brings joy to the children.  A jolly old man in a big red suit is sitting in the mall asking children what they would like for Christmas.  Snowmen and Snow Angels are made outside and stockings are hung above the chimney where the yule log is placed.  And children are outside playing with their new toys and mothers admiring their new jewelry and fathers practicing with their new tool set.  Gifts are given, being wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper and a ribbon or bow on top.  Everyone is merry and having themselves a great time.

Yes this is Christmas.  And there is nothing else that defines that celebration.  But for Christians, we chose to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on that day.   However, almost everyone agrees that Jesus was not likely born on that day, so without the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, what is Christmas?  Just another pagan Holiday.  The bible never talks about Christmas, or trees and lights and mistletoe.  It talks about the birth of Jesus, but not about Christmas.  Mary and Joseph did not have the manger decorated with lights and ornaments.  Someone had taken the December 25’s Pagan’s celeration, united it with the birth of Christ to convert pagans to Christianity while allowing them to celebrate their own traditions, this including; the tree, mistletoe, yule logs, gift exchange and etc, and called it Christmas.

So what is Christmas all about?  After looking at the origins of the Pagan Holiday, we look at the name of Christmas.   The word Christmas means “Christ” “Mass”.  And “mass” meaning ‘death by sacrifice’.  So really we celebrate the first act of God’s love and plan performed in the new testament.  We celebrate God sending His son as a sacrifice.  Just like we celebrate Easter by honoring His death (Good Friday) and Resurrection (Easter Sunday).  Christmas is all about celebrating the Birth of our Savior who was born to be a sacrifice for our sins.  And we celebrate it using the pagan’s traditions with all that we know of as Christmas.  Does that mean it is a sin to use the Pagan’s celebrations?  No.  Christians took something of a sinful nature and used it as a way to preach the gospel, convert sinners, and worship our Lord all at the same time.  And is that not what God done to us?  To a lowly sinner and used it to do His will.  He transformed us just as we did a Pagan Holiday.

But people today only look forward to the celebration and not the reason for it.  We look forward to the happiness people feel and the music and the lights.  We look forward to lights and decorating the tree.  We look forward to giving and bringing smiles and definitely receiving gifts.  But we never stop and think about the gift Jesus gave us.  Because had it not been for that Pagan Holiday, Christ’s birthday would have been another holiday forgotten.  Imagine for a minute that we decided to celebrate it on July 22.  There would be no Christmas tree or mistletoe or lights.  Just another day like George Washington’s birthday.

The scripture people read on Christmas day, is the story of Christ’s birth in Luke chapter 2.  As Linus goes to the middle of the stage holding his blanket he quotes the Christmas Story and says “Thats what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”  Though that be true, we forget that its not just about the birth of Jesus.  It is much deeper than that.  It is the reason Christ was born.  His whole purpose to be born was to die.  His reason for being was to be nailed to a cross.  When that babe in a manger was born, He was born under the shadow of the cross.  We can read Luke 2 all we want, but that doesn’t tell us what Christmas is all about.  Yeah Jesus was born, but why?  Lets look.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  Matthew 1:23

That is what Christmas is all about.  We celebrate the birth of Christ not because He was born.  But why He was born.  We celebrate Christmas because that was the day that our Savior came to save us!  It was the day when God came to us.  For years we searched for God and couldn’t reach Him.  For ages God wanted His people to be with Him, but instead God came to us!  He came to us to save us so we can forever be in His arms.  We celebrate Christ’s birth using the traditions of the Pagans, because He was lifted up.

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.  Matthew 20:28

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  Matthew 26:28

Jesus quoted Isaiah 53:12 when he said: “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” Jesus, although without sin, was to be counted among sinners. Notice what else is written in Isaiah 53:

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

For the transgression of my people he was stricken…. Though he had done no violence … it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer … the Lord makes his life a guilt offering…. He will bear their iniquities…. He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah describes someone who suffers not for his own sins, but for the sins of others. Let us Celebrate Christmas not just for the birth of Christ, but why He was born.  Because that is the true meaning of Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I Thirst

 No doubt Jesus experienced extreme thirst while being crucified. He would have lost a substantial quantity of bodily fluid, both blood and sweat, through what he had endured even prior to crucifixion. Thus his statement, “I am thirsty” was, on the most obvious level, a request for something to drink. In response the soldiers gave Jesus “Vinegar” (v. 29).  John notes that Jesus said “I am thirsty,” not only as a statement of physical reality, but also in order to fulfill the Scripture of Psalm 69, which includes this passage:

Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.  They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (vs. 20-21)

Jesus was on the cross for six hours losing blood and energy.  Of course He was thirsty!  And though God never thirsts, His flesh needs water to survive.  But beyond fleshly thirst and beyond fulfilling scripture, Jesus was thirsty for another reason.  Jesus is God in the flesh, so why would God need drink on the cross when He created the oceans and the lakes?  Why would the Living water be thirsty?  Speaking of living water, maybe our answer is found in John 4, where Jesus approaches the woman at the well.

Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.  (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)  Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Here is Jesus again, saying “I am Thirsty”.  But why?  You see Jesus was offering the woman a deal.  If you give me to drink, you will never be thirsty again.  You see the woman was talking about a spiritual thirst, but Jesus was talking about a different kind of thirst.  Thirst doesn’t mean you need liquid in your body, it means you crave, or long for something.  When Jesus told the woman he was thirsty, He was telling her, “I thirst for you!”  God was telling the sinner, I want you to come back to me.  I long for you, I yearn for you!  He tells the woman, I don’t want your well water, I don’t want your liquid, for I created it! I just want you!  I want a relationship with you, I want you to love me, and to run into my arms!  Satisfy my thirst for you and I will give you living water.  Where you will never thirst for love again.  You will never feel incomplete again or broken, forsaken and alone.  I will be there and I will love you.  Satisfy my longing for you so I can satisfy you!

This is what God is telling us on the cross, Here I am on this cross, and I am thirsty!  The scripture noted earlier in Psalms 69:20 “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none”.  Jesus said “All I have done is love you, and you insult me and mock me and crucify me, And my heart is broken.”  He is yearning for us, longing for us, thirsty for us!”  

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us

Romans 8:37-39

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

John 7:37-38

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Do we really think that Jesus is talking about natural water?  He tells us, whoever is longing or yearning for something that you can not find, come to me and let me fill your desire for a love and life.  Let me satisfy your thirst and make your spirit overflow.  But now here is Jesus.  Here is your God.  Crucified on the cross, beaten and torn, mocked and spat on, and all alone.  And as one of the last things He wanted to tell us before dying on the cross, was that He was Thirsty for us.