Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Born to Die

Perhaps, this post may sound a bit cliche, but I cannot escape this thought at the moment as I look back on what Christ did for me and all those who have believed on His Name, and even those who have yet to do so.

In my online journeys (and at work), I have encountered many people who either are asking about the true meaning of Christmas, or have given up on it all together. The latter of those two groups simply see Christmas as yet another day in which capitalism reigns supreme and selfishness seems to be the ultimate motivation for the celebration. Sadly, those of US (I include myself here) in America who claim to represent Biblical Christianity are just as guilty in presenting this selfish picture of Christmas.

However, if we consider what The Bible teaches, we see something very different. We find the true meaning of Christmas. The hymn quoted below summarizes the 4 Gospels best with the line, “Born to die that man might live.” Jesus Christ was born not to be a good example, not to be a great prophet, but He was born so that He might die and pay the price for our sins. Thankfully, it doesn’t end there. He was also born so that He might rise again from the dead, proving that He has the victory over sin, death, and Hell; that He is indeed The Son of God (Romans 1:3-4).

What is your motivation for celebrating The Savior’s birth this year? Is it simply to give presents in the selfish hopes that you’ll get something in return? Or is it to meditate on what your Savior did for you? If this lost world were to view how Christmas was celebrated in your home, would they see selfish capitalism, or would they see Jesus Christ?

“Ring the Bells”
Harry Bollback

Ring the bells! Ring the bells!
Let the whole world know;
Christ was born in Bethlehem;
Many years ago.

Born to die that man might live;
Came to earth new life to give;
Born of Mary born so low;
Many years ago.

God the Father gave His Son;
Gave His Own Beloved One;
To this wicked, sinful earth;
To bring mankind His love, new birth.

Ring the bells! Ring the bells!
Let the whole world know.
Christ the Savior lives today;
As He did so long ago!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

In My Weakness

This may sound ridiculously simple, but to me this was a very profound (and greatly encouraging) thought that God has been teaching me this whole semester while I’ve been out of school.

I’ve been meditating on the song, “In My Weakness” (if you don’t know it, listen to Christy Galkin’s CD, which is a Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team CD featuring Christy) and also read the related Scripture passage, 2 Corinthians 12. Normally, when we consider the thought of God’s strength being perfect in our weakness, our first thought is that He is greater than our weaknesses. No doubt, this is certainly true. Our second, and slightly deeper application of this truth is that God is able to overcome our weaknesses and work in our lives in spite of them. I believe this to be the immediate application of the 2 Corinthians 12 passage. However, in the whole context of Scripture, I came to discover and understand for myself an even richer and 3rd application of the truth of how God’s strength is perfect in my weakness. God is not only greater than my weaknesses and able to work in spite of them, but He can make my weaknesses my strengths. How this came to be understood is through a series of events that have happened this semester (which, unfortunately, due to the nature of those events and for the sake of those involved, I cannot give details; but I will suffice to say that they were situations in which I was struggling to “Count it all joy (James 1:2).”) in which I was unable to do anything. In utter complete helplessness, I leaned on Christ to do a work that I knew from the start only He could do, but hoped that He would accomplish through me. My weakness- in this case inability- became a strength- dependance and trust in God. As we consider the lives of men like Peter, Paul, Timothy, and others, we see how God took their weaknesses and made those weaknesses their greatest assets. I think particularly of Peter- the apostle with the foot-shaped mouth- and how God took Peter’s pride of self and turned it into boldness for Christ. God can do this in any and all areas of our lives, and I believe that it is desire to do so, if we will but let Him.

I praise God for allowing the both good and hard circumstances that have come my way. If for nothing else, I praise Him for this because He strengthened my resolve to continue fighting the good fight of faith, and to let God show how He could take my weakest moments in life and make them into my strongest moments.

When living life for Jesus Christ
becomes too hard a task;
When obedience means sacrifice
that seems too much to ask,
that’s when I learn that my own strength
isn’t really strength at all.
And, I find rest in humbleness
when He becomes my all.

In my weakness, He is strong.
In my need, He leads me on.
When I come to the end
of all that I am
and place my trust in Him,
that’s when His strength begins
in my weakness.

When failures in my human strength
have weakened all my pride;
When ruined hopes and fallen dreams
have crumbled me inside,
that’s when I learn to finally see
the strength of Jesus Christ.
It’s then I see His strength in me,
when weakness fills my life.

In my weakness, He is strong.
In my need, He leads me on.
When I come to the end
of all that I am
and place my trust in Him,
that’s when His strength begins
in my weakness.

In my weakness,
He is strong