Today as you treasure Jesus…as you remember that He is your anchor, your freedom song, the Rock of Ages and the Name above all Names, may you find that He also keeps you singing!
“And while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born. And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. And she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
As we get closer to Christmas, we began to hear the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus.. As a amazing story it is, sometimes I think we forget, to show that it wasn’t this clean nice smelling barn, but that it was a messy place.. This is my favorite way of telling the Christmas story..
God had this messy plan…a plan to save the world, and to do that he was going to send his son. Where does the God of the universe send his son? Where does the King of Kings and Lord of Lords come? To a barn…a stable…a manger of all places! Certainly no place fit for a king. But then again, this wasn’t any ordinary king.
When I say it was messy, I mean it was messy. It was a barn, a stable. So you’ve got animals and animal…stuff, manure and mud. A pitiful place for people, much less the King of Kings, to be born. Why would God do that? Well, I can’t tell you for sure, because the prophet Isaiah tells us that his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. But that same prophet, 400 years before, said “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us to our own way and that the Lord has laid our iniquities on him.” (Isaiah 53:6) You see, Jesus came to a messy place. A barn, well, yes that’s messy. But he came to a messy world. Why? Because the shepherd was coming to take care of his sheep and to prepare a way for his sheep to go home. That’s what a shepherd does. He lives where the sheep are, he sleeps where they sleep and he eats where they eat… That got Jesus in trouble… Why did Jesus eat with the sinners? That’s what a shepherd does…
A angel appeared to the shepherds in the field and said “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12). A sign.. Have you ever wondered what that sign was?.. A sign for what?.. Maybe a sign that Jesus, is assailable to everyone.. A sign that the God who owns a cattle on a thousand hills can relate to a homeless person.. because Jesus never had a home, never had a place to rest his head.. Maybe it was a sign it was a sign that God would have nothing to do with the social status of man kind, a sign he detest the splendor of humans because it’s not worthy of him, but it was a sign for us, that we should follow suit. In fact the apostle Paul would later on write that we should have the same attitude as Christ Jesus although he was the very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself a servant being made in human likeness..
A servant.. you see being a servant is messy and Jesus set this incredible example for us, he got down on his knees and he washed feet.. The God of the universe, the God who deserved the best of everything, got on his knees, he is the God who came to the world, he was laid in a manger.. a feed trough of all places.. Why such a messy place.. because he was following a messy plan
So needless to say that very first Christmas was dirty…it was grimy…it was filthy. But thank God it was, because without it what a mess we’d be in!
Definition of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
“Then the world will know that you [God the Father] sent me [Jesus Christ] and will understand that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:23, NLT).
Did you catch that? God loves you as much as He loves Jesus! That’s almost too much to even comprehend!
Scripture records that God’s love “never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]” (1 Corinthians 13:8, AMP). His love for you can never weaken. It’s impossible. His love for you isn’t based on your behavior but on His faithfulness.
God’s love for us is so all encompassing that we simply cannot comprehend its scope.
“For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, the voice).
Why did God give Jesus? The answer is simple: to purchase us back. In Genesis Adam gave himself, and consequently all his offspring (including you and me), to a new lord when he heeded Satan. Adam disobeyed God and separated himself and his descendants from Him. But since God loved each of us so much, He wasn’t willing to assign us the same fate as Satan and his angels.
God purchased our relationship back with Him by giving Jesus in our place. Jesus paid the complete price for mankind’s disobedience to God. He took our judgment.
The price of our soul is so expensive that nothing else could have bought us back besides Jesus Himself. “God bought you with a high price” (1 Corinthians 6:20, NLT). “Visualize this: His blood freely flowing down the cross, setting us free! We are forgiven for our sinful ways by the richness of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7, the voice translation).
No person or thing is more valuable to God than Jesus. Yet, God saw our value equal to that of what He prized most. Now here is the amazing thing If you and I had been worth one cent less to God than the value of His Son, He wouldn’t have purchased us because God would never make an unprofitable deal. (Recall the above scripture, “God bought you with a high price.”) A bad purchase is when you give something of more value for something of less value.
In God’s eyes, Jesus’ value is the same as yours! Do you see how important you are to God? This is why Jesus prays, “You love them as much as you love me” (John 17:23, NLT).
It’s easy to say, “Give your cares to God and trust Him” when everything in life seems to be going well. It’s easy to say, “I trust you God with everything I have” when bills are paid on time and when you just got a promotion at work.
However, if God striped you of everything you own; If God told you to leave the very job that’s paying your bills, will you trust the Lord enough to do it? Will you trust God even when you don’t understand; even when life hurts? If God told you to leave the familiar and enter the unfamiliar, will you trust Him?
For many of us, God has done just that. He has taken you from what’s “oh so familiar” and redirected our paths into the unfamiliar. Where we don’t understand what’s happening in our life; what to do or where to go. The only thing we know is that the Lord gave us a “word” (instruction, a promise, vision, etc) and the only thing we have to hold on to is that word.
For me, when I began to feel a stirring I started to seek and waited on God for a while. In my mind, I wanted him to show me the path ahead of me and to show the type of path, is it good?, is a plain sailing one or is it a difficult one? In my thinking, I thought if the path that God showed me is a good one, then I would walk in it.
Isn’t that how we always think, we are so afraid of making mistakes?
Isn’t this the type of mind-set that we have? Every time when we are at a crossroad, we want to know that whether we are going to take a gold trodden path ahead of us and we want an assurance that the path that we set out to take will be peaceful and plain sailing. Right? We wanted to know that the path ahead for the future would be rosy before we stepped out and walked towards that goal.
Isn’t this what you visualize, because I definitely visualize it this way!!
I didn’t want to make any mistakes, I didn’t want to walk a difficult road, I didn’t want to have troubles, heartaches and worries, anxieties and any complications. I didn’t want to waste any time.
You know what God began to show me? Instead of showing which path I should take, told me “Step out and walk, and walk in faith and a Path will open unto you “. He reminded me that just like the Israelite’s when they crossed the Red Sea, the Red Sea was not opened all the way to the bank on the other side that they could see. As they took the next step they began to see farther in front of them as they walked out in faith, step by step, the path to the other bank was becoming more visible.
I believe sometimes, God will place you in a situation where you have to trust Him and He’ll give you piece by piece as you obey and trust Him. Everyday I’m learning that you may not understand life and all that’s happening; but God will give you a piece to the puzzle as you learn to step out on faith, trust and obey him.
Today, I still don’t know where he is leading me, but what I do know is that I’ll trust him and I’ll go where he says go.
So, I started thinking what is it that I want to accomplish before I’m thirty and than I thought OMG I’m almost thirty!.. I’m getting old. After I got over that fact I decided I need to come up with 30 things I want to do before I’m thirty. Im starting a List, so later this year starting on my 29th birthday I will begin the task of doing 30 things before I’m 30. Here is what I have so far. I’ll add more as I go an maybe take away and replace LOL
1.) Go a week with out my blackberry (I know CRAZY)
2.) Go to Tuscany Italy
3.) Stay in a Cabin in the mountains
4.) Do a road trip to Nashville
5.) Write a handwritten letter, to people who impacted my life.
6.) Be apart of Revival
7.) Go deeper with God
8.) Do the 5k Color Run – This sound fun check out thecolorrun.com
9.) Lose 20 lbs 🙂
10.) Drive a wickedly cool car, even if I have to rent it.
11.) Put a crazy color in my hair
12.) Host a dinner party
13.) Go up in a hot-air balloon.
14.) Point at someone and shout “Your one of them!” Run and pretend to trip. Crawl away slowly.
15.) Whitewater Rafting
16.) Witness the Northern Lights in Alaska
17.) Discover Your Life’s Purpose
18.) Get in a Taxi in NYC and yell follow that car.
19.) Cliff Dive
20.) Order Dessert first at a restaurant. Just because
21.) Give a homeless person a Christa present
If I ever have a coffee shop this is what the menu will look like.. 🙂
1.) Muffin but the blood
2.) The scone was rolled away
3.) Jesus loves you a latte
4.) Amazing crepes
5.) Holy Toast
6.) Unto the least of cheese Danish
7.) Eggs Benediction
8.) Come just as you orange Julius
9.) The Good Shepherd’s pie
10) Noah’s two by tuna sandwich
11) Every knee shall bow tie pasta
12) Serve the Lord with all humili-tea
13) Fire and brimstone ground grits
14) Forbidden Fruit Cup
15) The Garden tomb salad
16) Hot cross buns
17) Holy bottled water
18) Just as I ham sandwich
19) Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s salad
21) Thou shalt not steel cut oatmeal
22) Here is your fearfully and wonderfully made latte!
23) Fresh fruit of the Spirit
24) Rolled away the Scone
25) Locust & honey croissant
26) Jehovah Java