Some Christmas Observations


We have all heard it said “Remember the reason for the season“. Good advice I’d say because for many it is a season without reason. Today as I reflected on this happy time of year and the ever faster approaching day, I thought about these things.

We celebrate Christ’s birth, and that is a good thing. I have little patience with those holier- than- thou types who have decided celebrating Christmas is bad because of some pagan, demon inspired conspiracy to cause Christians to celebrate an evil day. Without regard to how much one loves Jesus or how dedicated one is to him and his teachings, people the world over remember him at this time of year. I am glad.

Jesus’ birth is something to be celebrated. His humble birth though would be virtually meaningless but for his cruel death. His willing dying is what makes his birth so special. Had he not died, been buried, and then raised again to life, his birth would get no more attention than most others who were born in Bethlehem (Except his mom was a virgin, not an insignificant fact) near the time Jesus was born.

Born to die so I can live, my sin my shame to him I give. Immortality is his gift so free, a gracious offer is the gospel plea. I remember well when I heard the story, and bowed my will to the Lord of glory. Merry Christmas to me.

Christmas is marked by giving, pretty presents covered with colorful paper and beautiful bows. But all the giving of ten million Christmases cannot match the gifts by God to sinners. Gifts? Yes, gifts. God gave his one and only Son that he loved to die bearing the sins of the world. Jesus gave himself a sacrificial lamb to die the death for every man. And, God gives forgiveness and eternal life to everyone who will accept.

Looking back to a lowly manger in the City of David so many years ago does not compare to looking forward to the new Jerusalem, a city not built with hands. All who truly love Jesus will inhabit God’s city, feast at his table, enjoy Christ and bask in his glory forever.

In birth God with us, in life on earth God among us, teaching us, at Pentecost God in us, today God shaping us, using us to love others, displaying his holiness in our lives to a watching, hurting world.

The final gift is yet to be fully appreciated. Sin, sickness, sadness, sorrow, shame, separation, are all limited to this fallen world, they have no place in our future with Jesus. There is only Light, Peace, Joy, Praise, Glory, Worship, and …..well, language is inadequate to begin to describe even the microscopic glimpse we have of our certain future.

Why on earth would a Christian not say a hardy and heart-felt “Merry Christmas!“?

I appreciate each of you who read Grace Digest. May God’s peace rule in your hearts as we have a tiny taste of God’s glory in this holy season.

Gratefully,

Royce

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God is With Us…


God came down, down here where we live, and he is still here. One of the prophetic names of Jesus was Immanuel, “God with us”.

He came to save his people from their sins, Jesus. He is still here, Christ in you the hope of glory.

He said to his friends, “When I go away I will not leave you as orphans” “I will send the Comforter” and he did. For some reason I can’t quite explain I am comforted knowing my wife is in the other end of the house. As in the way a child is comforted by the presence of his mother.

I have, we have, you have, a constant companion who will not ever leave you or forsake you. Oh, you might not know he is near but he is. Run away will you? Even if you hide in hell he is still there.

Embrace him, love him, say something to him….he loves you so.

Christmas is when we celebrate “God with us”. It is when God became one of us to redeem us, to make us his own. Celebrate his presence, be comforted by knowing he is here. Trust him, acknowledge him, walk with him,…he is here.

Royce

Merry Christmas


Christmas is a wonderful time of year, celebrating a wonderful story, wise men following a star, gifts from afar, and a virgin giving birth in a cattle stall. A Holy child conceived by the Holy Ghost. His name was “God with us”. God became a man! ….But it was not enough!

If the story had ended there, or even if it had ended with the child growing up to be a great teacher and doing mighty works for God on behalf of the less fortunate, it would just be another story of a great and good man. But it did not end there.

This man came not only to live a perfect life but to die as a perfect sacrifice, a substitute for every man, fully satisfying
God the Father’s just demands. Tens of thousands of volumes have been written about his death on the cross. ……But it was not enough.

If the story had ended there, it would have been a great story, unique among all the stories of men ever told. God had come in flesh and paid for the transgressions of men every where and now God the Father could freely forgive men their sins and not compromise his holiness and justice. ……But it was not enough.

This innocent God-man had committed no crime but was executed on a Roman cross. He was buried in a borrowed tomb. And on the third day, just as he had predicted, He arose from the dead. He was alive! He had been glorified! His body was now fit not only for planet earth but heaven as well. Sin had been defeated. The devil and hell had been openly laid bare and also defeated. And, even death, the greatest enemy of mankind had itself died. Death, hell, and the grave would no longer be victors over those who know the Life.

Solely because of Christ’s life and work, both in living and dying and rising again, God could now forgive the sins of anyone who would trust the Christ of God and walk with Him. …But it was not enough!

Not enough you ask? Yes, to forgive sins was not enough. Because God cold wipe the slate clean, forgiving all your past sins, but there is a problem. You will sin again. Yes, just as every man since Adam, all of us sin. Even the best, most sincere Christian, still lives in a sin tainted body
,
a body that desires what God does not approve. And each of us has an ego that wants to be polished and protected every day. So if forgiveness is not enough what could God possibly do more?

God, the righteous judge of the universe, would declare wicked sinners “righteous” based on Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. ….That is quite enough!

The great Apostle Paul gave some reasons why he was not ashamed of the good news about Jesus. He said it is the dynamite of God unto salvation for everyone and that in that powerful story “the righteousness of God is revealed”. What is this “righteousness of God”? It is the person, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Because of the babe of Bethlehem, God takes away sin from wicked sinners and puts it to the credit of Jesus. But He doesn’t stop there. He also takes the righteousness of Jesus and credits it to the account of the sinner. So every man, woman, and boy and girl who puts their trust in the claims of the good news about Jesus and obeys it’s demands is made righteous.

Only perfect people are fit for living in the very presence of God in heaven or in the new earth. Only the completely pure can abide in His holy presence. God seeks after wicked sinners and based solely upon Christ he chooses them to be His own, He draws them to Himself by the work of the Holy Spirit. He convinces, convicts, and converts them by making them righteous as He is righteous, holy as he is holy, and finally, immortal as He is immortal.

This is what Christmas is all about. The beauty of that night long ago is only understood by the beatings Jesus took for you and me. The expensive gifts given to the holy child are only appreciated when we understand what the greatest gift is, the blood of Christ.

The babe, the body, the blood, the bounty, the beauty of holiness, freely given to all, and for all, who will turn from their own way and follow Jesus in simple child like trust.

Religion…is not enough. Acts of kindness…is not enough. Being a committed member of a church…is not enough. Only Jesus Christ himself is enough. He is the only hope, He is righteousness, He is life, is He yours?

See what God has given! Merry Christmas!

The deity of Jesus …Fact or fiction #2


I am always amazed what nuggets of truth can be discovered in scripture that are more often than not passed right over, and for the most part go unnoticed. 1 Peter 1:11 is such a verse. Peter is speaking about the gospel of Jesus, the trials, joys and hope that accompanies those who trust Him, and then he talks of the prophets of ages past who prophesied concerning the suffering and glory of Christ. In verse 11 he says about those prophets “… the spirit of Christ in them was indicating the sufferings of Christ…” Centuries before a birth in Bethlehem, before the cross, before the resurrection of Jesus, He was active in revealing partially to the prophets the salvation that had been planned long before the creation of the universe. The spirit of Christ could hardly be doing anything hundreds of years before He would come in flesh had he not existed prior to His humble birth as Mary’s child.

Another example of Christ being active in Old Testament history is found in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4. Paul is warning against idolatry and he says “For I want you to know, brothers that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ”. Even a rank skeptic must agree that if the Bible is true, then Jesus lived before His birth.  

Jesus existed before His natural birth “in time”. Post # number 3 will show that Christ also existed before time began, that He is God and is eternal.

In Him,
Royce