Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts

Monday, December 10, 2012

What is Christmas Really About?

Finding the meaning of Christmas can be difficult when society views the meaning of Christmas as a very materialistic day. Christmas has become about fairy tales, music, baking, family, and presents. I am not saying that any of those things are terrible but when the purpose for celebrating is forgotten what is the rest really worth? So many people have become like those acquaintances who send you birthday wishes on Facebook not because they remembered your birthday but because they saw it posted and saw that everyone else was writing on your wall. They were being kind and were jumping on the band wagon out of convenience not out of true care. I don't want to be an acquaintance of God, I want to be a friend of God or even better yet a child of God. I want to celebrate the birth of Jesus because I have a relationship with Him and am thankful for Him. 



As I have been reading through the scriptures that tell of the birth of Jesus I have been a little convicted, sad, and thankful. I wonder if I would have responded the same way as those who are spoken of. 

If I were Mary... I would have felt so overwhelmed. I would have felt completely anxious. Having just recently found out that I am pregnant again I am already anxious on how prepared I am. I worry for the child's safety. I would have been embarrassed. I remember the deep shame I felt when pregnant with Abbie my senior year. I remember the cruel glares from judgmental people. Even if I were a virgin when being impregnated by the Holy Spirit, I would have been concerned about what others thought and said. To be honest, I would have complained a lot during the long journey to Bethlehem. I complain often now even in my much less difficult circumstances.  

If I were Joseph... When I think that someone has wronged and embarrassed me how do I handle it? Part of me wants to declare my self as a victim. At heart I would want the person to suffer, even before trying to hear them out. 

If I were Zechariah... I would have totally put my foot in my mouth and would have probably would have doubted what the angel would have told me. Even in knowing God's goodness and His power, I often lead with fear and doubt. God has provided for us faithfully through the years, and yet when I get an unexpected bill my heart stops and I become filled with anxiety. I immediately wonder how we will make it by, as if I had already forgotten all that God has and is doing. 

Even though reflecting on how fallen and imperfect I am, I see how wonderful and amazing God is. I feel this way because Jesus came to the earth to die for the sins of the fallen and imperfect, and that is the true meaning of Christmas. It is the story of God sending His son in the form of a frail baby to show His love and grace to us through His son growing, teaching us, pointing the way back to God, and dying on the cross for our sins. Then showing God's majesty and power by rising from the dead. So while fairytales, music, baking, family, and presents might be nice there would be no Christmas without Christ. 

One of my friends had posted The True Christmas Story on her facebook page. It goes through the list of scriptures for the story of the birth of Christ. I wanted to share with you all the verses, so below are the verses in order so that you can read it and share with those who you love. 


A Savior King Is Promised 

Isaiah 7:14
 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.He will reign on David’s throne  and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Jeremiah 23:5 
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,“when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.

Micah 5:2-5
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”
Therefore Israel will be abandoned

    until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
    to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock

    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be our peace

    when the Assyrians invade our land
    and march through our fortresses.
We will raise against them seven shepherds,
    even eight commanders,


The Angel Visits Mary

Luke 1:26-28 
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,  to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.  For no word from God will ever fail.”
 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.


The Angel Visits Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.


The Trip to Bethlehem and Stable Lodging

Luke 2:1-7 

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.


The Christ Child is Born

Luke 2:6-7 
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Angels Visit the Shepherds

Luke 2:8-14 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 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. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


The Shepherd Visit the Manger

Luke 2:15-18


When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.


The Wise Men Travel to Jerusalem

Matthew 2:1-8

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”


The Wise Men Worship the Christ Child

Matthew 2:9-12
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Trip to Egypt

Matthew 2:13-15 

The Escape to Egypt

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,  where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”



God Bless,
Faith

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Training for Victory

Many of you may know that I am not a sports fan. Often when sports are on, my sighs can be heard from another room. Especially sporting events that take up multiple days. When I heard it was time for the Olympics to come on I knew that it meant days of torture for me. You see, my hubby loves sports. He watches, reads about, talks about, and listens to most anything that is focused on sports. He becomes so engaged in the sporting event that the world around disappears. 


This year I decided to approach the Olympics with an open mind. I even sacrificed and watched the opening ceremonies with my hubby last night for our date night. I love that in this point of my life God is constantly finding new ways to teach me and mold me. As I was contemplating the Olympics I noticed some ways that God would want me to be more like an Olympic athlete. I am not saying that God wants me to begin gymnastics or to become actively involved in a sport, but God does want me to have the same determination and drive in my Christian walk. 


Lets break down the athletes and what makes them successful: 


They Set a Goal- On an interview I heard an athlete describe his disappointment in receiving the silver medal in the last Olympic Games. To paraphrase he said that an athlete doesn't go to the Olympics to get silver. They go to get the Gold, anything less is losing. 


They Choose Coaches- They choose the best of the best when it comes to coaches. Then they have to trust their coach to know what is best for them and they submit themselves to their coach. 


They Focus- They focus all of their attention on obtaining their goal. They visualize it and they strive for it.


They Train- They don't just wake up one morning and decide to go to the Olympics. They take years and train their bodies. They compete against other athletes and push their bodies to new limits.


They Sacrifice- There was a commercial on last night that I found very interesting. It was the athletes all describing ways they sacrifice. They sacrifice their time. They don't get to just go hang out all the time with friends. They sacrifice things that can hold them back from their goal. One athlete hadn't had dessert in years. Many of the swimmers had to sacrifice going to the opening ceremonies because being on their feet walking for so many hours could make their legs tired. 


They Know Their Competition- They don't live in a state of denial. They learn all they can about the ones they are competing against and they learn the opponents weaknesses. 


They Fight- They give it everything they have. When their bodies want to quit they fight on. They push themselves to the limit. 






What I, as a Christian need to be doing:


I need to have a goal. What is my goal as a Christian? I want to live a life that is pleasing to God. I want to bring Him honor and glory through all I do. I want to expand and contribute to His kingdom.


I need a coach. Christ Jesus is my coach. He has shown me how to live and I need to trust and listen to Him. I need to submit myself to Him and His instructions. 


I need to focus. I need to set my eye on the goal. I need to have blinders on and set my eyes on Christ. I need to visualize the victory that God has already promised. 


I need to train. I need to train through the Word of God. I need to train through prayer and praise. I also need to train through all the little situations that come up. 


I need to sacrifice. I need to sacrifice my time by spending more time with God and doing things that will bring God glory. I need to sacrifice the things that distract me and can come between me and God. I need to live a life of sacrifice for others. 


I must know the competition. I need to be aware of the spiritual battle that is happening around me. I need to know the tactics of the devil and I need to have my armor on. 


Finally, I need to fight. I need to give it everything I have. When my flesh is ready to quit I need to press into God and continue fighting on. I need to push myself past my limits, because at the end of me is the beginning of Him. 


If I do these things God has already promised the victory. The glory will go to God. 


Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”


Acts 20:24 "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."


1 Corinthians 15:56-57 "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."


Hebrews 12:1-3 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverancethe race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Daily Blog Challenge: Day 16

What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?


1. Giving birth to Abbie. It was a long and difficult labor taking 46.5 hours. It was all worth it. She is one thing that brings me great joy. She is constantly pushing me to be my best. 


2. Turning my life to Jesus. Deciding to give Him control over my life, my bi-polar, my guilt from the affair, and my pain. He never disappoints, I wish the same was true for me not disappointing.


3. Reconciling and regrowing our marriage. We were married as immature, confused, and self indulgent youth. We have been growing into more mature, godly, self controlled adults. We still have a long way to go but it all started with reconciling. 


4. Giving birth to Elizabeth. We waited a long time for her but after six years we got to meet her. Looking back, it was all God's amazing timing. 


5. Learning how to share my scars. Mainly because I am able to grow closer to God and boast in Him. He has been so good to me. Also, to help others. God has plans for them and by being honest maybe they can see His grace and love through my story.