Holiday

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Isaiah 9:6-7 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”

Christmas. The very utterance of this word carries hundreds of images to the mind at once. Lights, trees, decorations, candy, fudge(white chocolate in my case), love, friends, family, comfort, Santa, and Jesus are examples of the kinds of images that would scurry through one’s brain at this word. There are so many topics I could write about under the Christmas category that I will not be able to expound upon them all. I’ll fit as many as I can in this post though.

First off, the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Watch any secular children’s Christmas movie and you’ll get a different spin on it. “It’s about getting gifts from Santa for being good,” and “The true meaning of Christmas is giving stuff to people you love,” are the most common meanings that the culture projects. Looking in from the outside, one can see that for the typical family, Christmas is a holiday filled with discontentment and spawned from greed. People will become angered if they don’t like what they got or didn’t get as much as they wanted. One might feel jealousy over a friend who received something better than they. One could become greedy, hoarding as much as he can get, giving nothing in return. For an unbeliever, Christmas is a holiday rampant with sin. This should be in direct contrast with the conduct of a believer on this holiday, or really any time. For a follower of Christ, CHRISTmas is just that: a designated time that we offer up praise to God for the gift of His Son being sent into this world, as a perfect and holy sacrifice for our constant sin. Really this is nothing we shouldn’t already be doing everyday of the year, everyday of our lives. Jesus Christ has given us the greatest gift that only God could give; why should we only praise Him for it once a year? No, as already stated, we should do much the opposite!

So then, why should we participate in the traditions of our culture? Why should we give gifts? Is God not enough? If we have accepted the free gift of God of eternal life, we know He is enough. As I have said before, “no money, cars, relationships can compare to joy in Christ,” to borrow from the Christian rapper Lecrae. Nothing we can possibly desire on this earth can match up to who Christ is.

Psalm 73:25-26, 28 “Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of Your works.”

See, to become discontent would defeat the purpose of Christmas: praising God because HE is enough! Each of us has been blessed beyond measure, so to sin in greed and discontentment would be like sneering at the Mighty God saying, “You are not enough. I want more! Your sacrifice was nothing.” How could we? Our Eternal Father deserves our lives and more for the boundless love which He has for us! We give gifts as a reflection of the gift we have been given, and should be proclaiming Christ the whole time we do.

In light of the fact that we must have this praise for Christ all the time, I believe many Christians should change their perspective of the Christmas season. To paraphrase John MacArthur, “When the world throws you a pass, catch it.” For the unbeliever, Christmas is a time of sin. For the child of God, Christmas is a tool. A tool for the furtherance of the gospel, of the good news of Jesus Christ, so that more may come to know Him. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is the only reason we celebrate Christmas. Far from it. We are finite humans, bound in weak flesh, and Christmas season serves to remind us of the gift of our Savior’s birth. We commemorate and celebrate the day of His birth at one time, together as a body.

I hope and pray that you will keep your focus on Christ throughout the Christmas season, throughout the year, and throughout your life.

Here is a little something I was shown on youtube. It’s a hilarious narrative of the birth of Christ by a British pastor. Enjoy!

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Struggles

You’re Not Afraid?

I would like to share with you, reader, a struggle I have been dealing with for a very long time and have only recently overcome(through God’s grace and with His help).  As you know, if you have read my About page, I am a lover of music.  When I was an unbeliever about 4 years ago,(I was about 12 at the time) I was under many strong ungodly influences, and came to enjoy listening to artists such as Linkin Park, Tenacious D, Papa Roach, Disturbed, and more recently Dr. Dre and Eminem(the list of  “bad” artists goes on, these are just a few examples). You see, I had this filter for bad music. Here were my two rules: No music that talks about bad things(unless it was catchy), and no music that had swearing in it(unless it was censored, or also really catchy).  As you can probably tell, this filter didn’t work so much.

So as the years went on, I was “convicted” on and off about secular music, and would get rid of it, then get it back.  Then a few months ago, when I was really struggling with listening to music by “bad” artists, but not necessarily music which talked about bad things, I was reading in Philippians, and these verses really convicted me.

Philippians 4:7,8 7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Does music which has sexual implications reflect what is honorable, right, and pure?  No it does not.  Does music which swears reflect what is lovely?  Nope.  Should I even be listening to songs which are by artists who are not of good repute?  No, according to this passage in Philippians, I should not.

Now, I’m not saying that listening to secular music is always a sin. I still listen to some secular music. But, only music which is not wrong, does not speak of that which is wrong, generally what you would call the “neutral” stuff.  For example, a song called “This” by Darius Rucker.  It speaks truth, and has good morals, and if it was written by a Christian artist, you wouldn’t question it as a Christian song.  But when speaking to others about music, and mention of a secular song that I like comes up, what I say is different. I say I listen to that song, not that artist. Because if I say I listen to that secular artist, I am supporting someone who is not of good repute, and that would directly violate the quoted passage.

This has been a big struggle for me, and I know that I will still struggle with it.  But with Christ’s help, I can overcome such struggles to grow in my walk with Him and reflect Him better.

Before I finish with this subject, I would like to address an artist whom many new and growing Christians who are also music enthusiasts struggle with listening to.  Eminem has been on top of the music charts for about as long as he has been rapping. He has great skill in the music he makes, and I respect him for that, but he uses it for the worst purposes.  I pity him, because he has gone through so much difficulty in his family, and in his early life, yet is blind to the free gift offered to him by Christ. Instead, his response to the trials in his life is anger and rage at others for what has happened to him and for what he has brought upon himself. The Bibles description of him is found in Titus 3:3:

For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

I have made a habit of praying for this man, that someone may be able to bring him the gospel, and that he would accept it. Here is a song describing how lost he is in his own words. This song is clean, listen to it if you so desire. The only reason I am adding it is because after I heard it, it gave me more of a desire to pray for this man, and I grew more somber in my thoughts toward him. It is basically a dialogue between him and his daughter Hailie, whom he is separated from. He sees his mistakes, yet still believes he is going to heaven. http://grooveshark.com/#/s/When+I+m+Gone+clean+/dzghD?src=5

I hope that you will pray for this man, that he will accept the gift of eternal life which is freely offered to him.

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