Tag Archives: gospel

Take Jesus to the World

“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

 Take Jesus to the World

The last two months have been tough for America; we were horrified by the Orlando massacre and the Dallas assassinations. We sense evil amongst us and we can easily fall into despair.

What will happen next? How do we stop the carnage?

When senseless horrors like these occur, we are confronted with the reality that we live in a very imperfect world.

We are all broken people living in a broken world where every community, every profession, and every human system is broken.

But there is a solution to all of the chaos and healing for the brokenness.

That solution does not rely upon fallible human beings but upon our infallible Creator.

How do we mend a human heart? (We don’t. God does.)

No man-made laws (however well-intentioned) can change the human heart. Only Jesus Christ can change our hearts.

Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus has overcome the world and he is, moment by moment, person by person, changing hearts and transforming lives.

Even now, Jesus is fixing our broken world by fixing broken hearts one by one. As people are adopted into his kingdom, healing will spring forth into changed hearts, which in turn, will change the world.

Senseless violence will cease to exist when the whole world realizes the truth of who Jesus is and what he can accomplish.

Let us take Jesus to the world for healing and restoration. We can rely on him. He is, after all, the Savior of the world.

Obama and Reagan on Jesus

In Matthew 10:34, Jesus made a seemingly enigmatic statement: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword.” Jesus graphically depicted how differing views of Jesus would divide people.

Obama & Reagan on Jesus

The contrast between views could not be starker between the Left and the Right. One party removed God from its 2012 platform while the other is derided by the Left for its embrace of the Religious Right.

As usual, Jesus is the pivot point, the demarcation line, or, as He put it, the sword which divides. Jesus is either a rock of offense or the foundation of one’s faith.[1]

The head of the Democrat Party, President Obama, views Jesus as a dead social justice activist, while President Reagan, the model for most Republican candidates, viewed Jesus as both alive and divine.

Obama’s Jesus – Social Justice Activist

President Obama’s Christmas message in 2015 was simple and secular. Obama said (emphasis added),

“Today, like millions of Americans and Christians around the world, our family celebrates the birth of Jesus and the values He lived in his own life. Treating one another with love and compassion. Caring for those on society’s margins: the sick and the hungry, the poor and the persecuted, the stranger in need of shelter – or simply an act of kindness.”

With his very next words, Obama watered down the significance of both Christ and Christmas, saying,

“That’s the spirit that binds us together – not just as Christians, but as Americans of all faiths. It’s what the holidays are about: coming together as one American family to celebrate our blessings and the values we hold dear.”

Actually, no. Christmas is about worshiping the newborn Babe and risen King.[2]

While people of all faiths can certainly enjoy this festive time of year, and Americans of all faiths should certainly strive for peace and harmony, only one faith – and, in particular, one Person[3] – is the reason for the season.[4]

God blessed America because people of the Christian faith sought His will in establishing this great nation. Our political, cultural and spiritual heritage is distinctly Christian in nature.[5]

Reagan’s Jesus – Divine

In contrast to Obama’s view of Jesus as a dead social justice activist, Reagan viewed Jesus as both alive and divine.

President Reagan’s 1983 Christmas Eve address (emphasis added):

“We celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace who came as a babe in a manger. Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great teacher and philosopher. But to other millions of us, Jesus is much more. He is divine, living assurance that God so loved the world He gave us His only begotten Son so that by believing in Him and learning to love each other we could one day be together in paradise.”

Speaking of our nation’s Founder, George Washington, Reagan said (emphasis added),

“The image of George Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow is one of the most famous in American history. He personified a people who knew it was not enough to depend on their own courage and goodness; they must also seek help from God, their Father and Preserver.”

Endnotes:

[1]               See “Attacking the Faith: Did Jesus Say that He is God?” at http://wp.me/p4scHf-P.

[2]               See “Celebrating Christmas” at http://wp.me/p4scHf-ct.

[3]               See “Jesus, the Prince of Peace,” at http://wp.me/p4scHf-6J.

[4]               See “Not a Dickens Christmas” at http://wp.me/p4scHf-cq.

[5]               See “CPAC: America’s Christian Heritage Denied” at http://wp.me/p4scHf-8E.

Celebrating Christmas

At the center of all of the Christmas narratives is the Babe, Jesus Christ, our Emmanuel (“God with us”).

Celebrating Christmas

In the beloved Christmas carol, “O Come Let Us Adore Him,” we sing “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.” This harkens to Jesus’ birth (called the Advent or Incarnation) as recorded in the Gospel of John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

With the birth of Jesus, mankind was introduced to God in the flesh, One who could fully empathize with us and who, now, intercedes on our behalf with our Father in heaven.

Our Father? How?

The Word was born a Babe that we might become children of God. John 1:12 explains, “But as many as received Him, to these He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”

Why would God want to share His life with us?

The most well-known Scripture, John 3:16, tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

The apostle John added, “truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:3-4).

The exquisitely joyous Christmas season reminds us of our fellowship with God in Christ, a relationship which should fill us with joy. Every day. And, when we meet our Maker, we will fully experience joy forevermore.

John also revealed a little bit about that time, writing, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Jesus became a human being so that, ultimately, we could might experience spiritual rebirth and be transformed into His image, to become like Him!

These are just a few things to ponder as we celebrate the day of Jesus’ birth.

Without Christ, there is no Christmas. But with Christ, every day is Christmas.

Not a Dickens Christmas

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a popular, perennial tale which captures the imagination, tugs at our heartstrings, and, sadly, misses the whole point of Christmas.

Dickens

Every year, new Christmas movies are released, destined to garner good ratings. Many are romantic comedy/dramas. Others address family or financial issues. Some are simply fun. And many explore the Dickensian themes of economic disparity and evil elites.

Dickens was a Unitarian” who “focused more on morality and ethics than on traditional theology,” and whose “own faith seemed to be more of a romantic, deistic, Unitarian variety.” In fact, today he would be called a social justice warrior. “Benevolence, rather than faith, is central to Dickens’s vision of the Christmas.” Hence, his harangue against the stereotypical greedy capitalist.

According to Dickens – but contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ – Scrooge was given a second chance and was able “to save himself – to become his own savior.”

In the end, Scrooge promises to honor Christmas as his path to redemption. This is idolatry and a false gospel. Like those pagans condemned in Romans 1:25 because they “worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator,” Scrooge is worshiping Christmas instead of the Babe who was born on Christmas.

But Christmas is a joyous season for one reason: Jesus Christ was born that we might be redeemed by Him and live with Him through eternity.

Virtually all traditional Christmas songs celebrate this sublime truth.

This classic song proclaims:

Remember, Christ, our Saviour / Was born on Christmas day / To save us all from Satan’s power / When we were gone astray. / O tidings of comfort and joy, / Comfort and joy. / O tidings of comfort and joy.

Remember the words of Isaiah’s prophecy: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).”

Don’t neglect the reason for the season. As you celebrate the birth of Jesus, spend time with the One whose birth we are celebrating.

Mele Kalikimaka

Christmas is indisputably the most joyous season of the year. For many Americans, 2015 will prove especially memorable.

Mele Kalikimaka

The American Northeast is experiencing record highs this Christmas season, prompting some to herald “Global warming!” (Every area of the world has its own record highs and record lows for every day of the year. It’s called weather.)

Others, especially Hawaiian shirt-lovers like me, are grateful for this temporary change of temperature, if not of venue. (Those who flew down to Florida for the holidays just for the weather may have wasted their money.)

Regardless of the weather wherever you are, may we all remember the reason for the season.

In the Gospel of Luke 2:10-11, we read: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’”

Remember, it is truly “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

May you all have a marvelous Christmas season. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14).”

The Dawn of Hope

“the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death a light has dawned.” – Matthew 4:16

The real meaning of Christmas can often be obscured by the trees and lights, the fanfare and the presents. But Christmas is not about the glitter – as festive as that can be – but about the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ, who was born as a Babe to bring hope to the world.

LifeLifter10

For God so loved the world … that the Word clothed himself in humanity to dwell with us. Jesus entered our darkened world to bring us the Light that we might have the hope of salvation in him.

Christmas is a joyous season with joyful and festive songs – with good reason! Jesus was born to save his people from their sins and to bring us into a relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit that will continue through eternity.

The Good News of Jesus arrived that Christmas day, with angels and shepherds and wise men witnessing the miracle and worshiping the Messiah. Joyful adoration erupted from hearts filled with hope that God would fulfill his promises.

Jesus was born in a dying world and we, 2,000 years later, live in a darkened world. But Jesus, our Light, gives us a certain hope for the future – a hope that we can share with others.

Jesus, our Emmanuel – God with us – is indeed with us so that we have nothing to fear.

This Christmas season (and throughout the coming year), may we express the love and exhibit the hope that Jesus has given us to those still in the darkness, pointing them to the true meaning of Christmas.

Dastardly Pilgrims (and Republicans)

(h/t Rush Limbaugh)

Paul Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is anathema to the secular Left (even though the word “progress” is in its title – I guess they have a different kind of progress in mind).

To many progressives, the Pilgrims were genocidal white supremacists who founded a racist, sexist, and classist patriarchal society which exploited the environment – and, worst of all, they dared to believe and profess Jesus as Savior!

Pilgrims

In other words, the Pilgrims were the Republicans and Religious Right of their times. (Yes, those dastardly Pilgrims are still at it hundreds of years later.)

The Left loves the holiday for the parties and parades (who doesn’t love a good time), though it may decry the consumerism and materialism of the holiday. But its portrayal of the Pilgrims is almost uniformly a critical caricature based upon its ideology, not on facts or history.

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanksto God!

(The Obama administration and the Left wants us to talk about global warming, gun control, racial discrimination and the like over Thanksgiving! The Left also contends that Syrian refugees are just like the Pilgrims! No, they aren’t. They are fleeing war and poverty, not religious persecution.)

The Pilgrims and Puritans were people of faith (Christian) who sought to do God’s will in the New World. The first Thanksgiving was a feast in honor of God for His Providence upon them. Indeed, America’s subsequent Founding Fathers were largely believing Christians who lived in a culture that was biblically-oriented. The secular Left would have you think otherwise.

Quotes from Pilgrim’s Progress

The Left hates the book, Pilgrim’s Progress, because it points to The Good Book – the Bible.

Pilgrim’s Progress is replete with faith claims which today rile the secular Left and atheists. Christians recognize that they are pilgrims in this life and profess a faith in the one true God – something which runs counter to this pluralistic world in which we live. True progress – the progress of Pilgrims – is found in following God and not progressive ideology.

Bunyan expressed a changed life in Christ: “My name is now Christian, but my name used to be Graceless.”

Bunyan denounced the false human philosophies of this world: “Mr. Worldly-Wiseman is not an ancient relic of the past. He is everywhere today, disguising his heresy and error by proclaiming the gospel of contentment and peace achieved by self-satisfaction and works. If he mentions Christ, it is not as the Savior who took our place, but as a good example of an exemplary life. Do we need a good example to rescue us, or do we need a Savior?”

Bunyan professed a dependence upon the omniscience of God: “What God says is best, is best, though all the men in the world are against it.”

Bunyan proclaimed an allegiance to his Savior: “I have given Him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to Him; how, then, can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a traitor?”

Bunyan asserted a certain hope for the future: “I seek a place that can never be destroyed, one that is pure, and that fadeth not away, and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there, to be given, at the time appointed, to them that seek it with all their heart. Read it so, if you will, in my book.”

Bunyan championed the truth and efficacy of God’s Word: “Not that the heart can be good without knowledge, for without knowledge the heart is empty. But there are two kinds of knowledge: the first is alone in its bare speculation of things, and the second is accompanied by the grace of faith and love, which causes a man to do the will of God from the heart.”

Bunyan extolled the God of the Bible: “Is there anything more worthy of our tongues and mouths than to speak of the things of God and Heaven?”

Bunyan pointed people to the cross of Christ: “God’s grace is the most incredible and insurmountable truth ever to be revealed to the human heart, which is why God has given us His Holy Spirit to superintend the process of more fully revealing the majesty of the work done on our behalf by our Savior. He teaches us to first cling to, and then enables us to adore with the faith He so graciously supplies, the mercy of God. This mercy has its cause and effect in the work of Jesus on the cross.”

Bunyan exhorted the lost and hopeless to turn to God: “Wake up, see your own wretchedness, and fly to the Lord Jesus. He is the righteousness of God, for He Himself is God. Only by believing in His righteousness will you be delivered from condemnation.”

Bunyan praised the superiority of truth: “For to speak the truth, there are but few that care thus to spend their time, but choose rather to be speaking of things to no profit.”

My fellow Americans – and all those throughout the world reading this – I exhort you to heed the wise counsel of Paul Bunyan and – instead of following the White House’s advice to discuss climate change – look to our Creator and praise Him for all that He has wrought in His creation and in our lives.

Praise be to God!