Jesus is the only human who ever chose to be born, so why did he come? Volumes of books have been written in an attempt to answer that question but I wish to limit my thoughts to one idea.
Jesus came to restore man’s fallen, broken relationship with God. Man willfully chose to disobey God’s clear command Genesis 3 and in doing so, separated himself from God. Jesus’ ultimate purpose was to restore that relationship. From the first Adam we inherited death or our sin nature, and separation from God, but Christ came to reverse that and restore us to the state where we are no longer overcome by sin.
Jesus did not come to make us a better verison of ourselves. He did not come to make us nice people. He came to make us new. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Scriptures are filled with examples of a new life in Christ:
- Zacchaeus – a crooked tax collector = life changed Luke 19:5-9
- Saul, a persecutor of the church, becomes a promoter of the church Acts 9
- Jacob was a deceiver but God so changed him Genesis 35:10
While reading articles on the web; I could not help but notice the repeated theme about how families can handle the stress of family get-togethers. Why are family functions some of the sweetest times of our holiday, but also some of our most stressful? Well, every family has problems, tensions, and dysfunctions, and those don’t take holiday breaks. It requires a lot of energy to care for a crowd, no matter how much we love them. Even the godly Martha became overwrought when Jesus brought His disciples for supper.
Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Luke 10:40
Here are two suggestions to keep you from being swept away by the stress of family:
First, don’t be afraid to establish healthy boundaries. Give yourself permission to duck out of the room, escape the mob, and let them fend for themselves. If we’re the ones dropping in on others, sometimes it’s best to get a hotel room rather than crash in the spare room.
Second, make sure you don’t skimp on your devotional time with Christ. Martha needed to take a lesson from Mary’s book and sit at Jesus’ feet a while—and so do you. We love others best by loving Him more.
Have you ever heard someone say, “They make me so mad?” Of course you have, maybe you said that yourself. But is it really true? Can people “make” you mad? I know there are people that know which “buttons” to push to upset you. They know how to “get your goat.” But we need to ask ourselves, who is in charge of my emotions?
To say that someone, other than yourself can promote a certain emotional response from you is to they can control you to some extent. But the Bible is clear that each Christ-follower is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and not our emotions. Eph. 4:31 Psalm 37:8
You are to be in control of your emotions. I am not saying we are to deny our emotions (Remember Mr. Spock?) but don’t allow them to control you.
You get angry because you allowed yourself to get angry.
When I came to Christ, I belonged to a church that had an emphasis on external standards. They required people to follow a certain set of rules and requirements. They had a standard of dress that was rigidly followed. Certain places, like movie theaters, we’re off limits. No one was allowed to own or watch a television due to its influence.
Looking back, I have a new understanding of why they created those rules. Where they went wrong was they took the principles taught in Scripture and made them laws to be obeyed. The Bible does teach modesty but they tried to legislate it. The Bible wants us to live holy but holiness isn’t achieved by complying with rules. By keeping the “rules” they thought they could gauge if they were (or were not) pleasing God with their lives.
There is no “standard” for everyone. God has created us all different and what He requires of each is different. If we truly want to please Him with our lives, we must allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. John 16:12-14 Romans 8:14 Galatians 5:17-19
Everyone wants a great deal. We go through the newspaper looking for the best price on food, clothing, and automobile tires. Have you ever went to a yard sale or flea market and discover an item that is vastly under-priced? You know that the person selling the item obviously does not know its true worth. Do you try to talk them into selling it at ever a lower price?
As a Christ-follower, do you…
a) Praise God for this wonderful opportunity, buy the object without letting the owner know its true value? And then brag to your friends what a shrewd dealer you are?
b) Inform the owner of the real value and offer him a reasonable price?
Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you. Luke 6:31
Would love to hear your comments.
When Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized, John’s initial reaction was to protest. He did not feel worthy to even unties Jesus’ sandals. (Mark 1:7) How did it look to have the sinless Lamb of God slosh in the same river where sinners had been immersed? What would people think?
It did not matter to Jesus; obeying His Father is all that mattered. What was God’s response? He smiled! Mark 1.1 That approval set the tone for Jesus’ ministry that was centered on pleasing the Father. John 8:29 “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”
Being a committed follower of Jesus will not make you popular. How will your obedience look to others? It’s okay to turn heads – as long as we make God smile.
Like most men, I love cars. And cars, like people, are all different. Some are flashy sports models while others are family sedans. Some come equipped with automatic transmissions and others may come equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission. Two door – Four doors. Convertible – hardtop. A lot of variety
A lot of variety but there is one similarity that they all share; they have a windshield and a rear-view mirror. The windshield by design is rather large in comparison to the rear-view mirror. Obviously, it’s more important see where you are going than where you have been. While looking back occasionally does have a purpose, looking forward should be where are our main focus is.
It is so sad to see people living in the past. They cannot overcome how they have been hurt or how they have failed but constantly looking back hinders our forward progress. The Apostle Paul wisely said, “ Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,…” Philippians 3:12. Good advice as we come to the end of another year.
“Your most important work is always ahead of you, never behind you.” Stephen Covey.