The lamb born in a stable

image I love Christmas time. I always have. Growing up in a liturgical church, we had such an array of festival and pageantry that Christmas was a time I always looked forward to; not only because of receiving gifts, but the nativity. I loved the nativity scene. My parents owned a jewelry store back in the day; Hart’s Jewelers. They worked late in December and we would always drive home in the darkness or fog after a full nights work.   On the way home there was a star off in the distance with cascading streams of light. You could see it 5 miles away, at least that’s how I remember it.  Under the star was a full-size life ( not living) nativity scene. It was truly amazing. Every night on the way my brother and I would beg my parents to drive by the “star”.  They did, probably once a week, although I could have gone every night. I can remember every detail in my memory and it simply was the Christmas story for me. Jesus, in the manger, his parents over Him, the shepherds and wise men near by. Camels and sheep, lots of sheep.  It was lit up and straw was all around. It was magical.

I always believed in Jesus, I didn’t doubt His existence or the virgin birth or the Angels appearing in the heavens singing “Gloria in excelsis   Deo “.   But I just didn’t realize what was really happening.  God, leaving His throne, His kingdom, His worshippers to put on human flesh. To feel human, fully human; joy, pain, love, grief, anger, and abandoned.   He became everything that we are; born, a life full of family drama ( remember no one believed Mary was a virgin, except Joseph ,Elizabeth, and Zechariah.) His brothers and sisters thought He was crazy and his earthly father died before His ministry began. He knew He was God, but He never used His powers beyond what we ourselves as believers with faith could use also. He didn’t come handsome so that people would look at Him and say”now there is a king!”   He knew deep moments of loneliness that would not be satisfied the way it was in the heavenlies.  And above all, He came knowing the mission, to die for all humans, to die in each and everyone’s place for their sins, great and small, filthy dirty icky sin. Every human that has been conceived He paid in full their debt for sin and filled an account full of all they will ever need. That account sits full awaiting the activation that occurs when you believe.  Even those who rejected Him to their final breath have an account in their name that only awaits their belief.  What belief?  The need for being rescued.

This salvation that Christ came to redeem is all about the story of us. Our need to be rescued from bondage, a place we can’t get out of ourselves;  a problem arises that impedes God’s purpose for life and blessing*.  What God wants is for us to cry out to Him For help, to recognize we need help.  The problem that arises, however, is that we think we can handle problems thrown our way; that we can work it out, create a plan to solve it.  Our American culture is simply full to the brim of American self reliance and hard work. We built this country and we can make it better, we can bring it back, we just need a new leader, a new plan, or more money, but we can handle this, we don’t ask for help, that would be too dependent.

The crux of the salvation story is right at the beginning, God waiting to hear from us, to cry out.  He gave us example after example of a people He called out to live so that we would see the pattern.   The Israelites cried out and God heard them, the primal scream for redemption*.  This is what we need to hear this season. Not what leader will get us, but what a God, The God, is waiting for. He seeks us out and asks “where are you?”

This Christmas season, don’t just remember the baby, the incarnate Word of God in human flesh, but remember why He came.  That we might recognize our feeble attempt to save ourselves from a difficult life or circumstances.  Those very issues are there to cause of to realize we can’t do it without this Almighty God. He is there, waiting in the garden, in the stable, on the cross, and in the empty tomb.  Embrace your lack of control, embrace life’s curve ball that hits you in the eye, God wants you to need Him. Then sit back and watch the mighty rescue of your God.  See his wonders and receive His grace.  Without suffering or pain we would never know we need to be rescued.

Merry Christmas and may 2016 be the year you allow God to save and rescue you in everything, great to small. Then He receives the Glory and we get to share our story of rescue.

What if we are wrong?

I have to admit I am somewhat of an end times junkie.  This all started years ago when my children were little and I wanted to add to the holiday fun for the family. I listened to Focus on the Family and they had recommended a book that I can’t remember the name of, but it had great ideas to add to each holiday to make it Christ relevant and fun.  This was exactly what I was looking for.  In this book was a section on a “christian passover”  After reading about it and diving in full force ( those who know me understand I have two speeds, fast and full-blown) I hosted my family and in brother and sister-in-law and 6 small toddlers and babies to a 4 hour nightmare of  full on kosher “Christian Passover” meal and Seder.  Let’s just say it was a disaster, but it whet my appetite for bible study and I dove in head first and I haven’t had my nose out of those books ever since.  I teach a lot about  the 7 feasts of the Lord and the end time significance that they imply.  After seeing Christ fulfill the first three feasts to the day and the Holy Spirit fulfill the fourth to the day I was hooked.  I knew the Lord was teaching us something important if we only had eyes to see and ears to hear.

This short article is not about all the study on the feasts, that is reserved for another time, it is not about the wedding feast and wedding preparation either, again for another article; this is about missing what God is doing.  Kind of like missing the trees for the forest, or is it missing the forest for the trees?  I never remember, but either works fine for me.

You see we tend to have preconceived notions about how and when Christ will return.  There are those who  simply quote “no man knows the day or hour except the Father” so they ignore it all and put their head in the sand, not realizing the play on words Jesus was using.  Then there are those who have charts and 7 years and 3 and 1/2 years and peace treaties they try to tie it up with a bow and take all christians out of the picture up to a grand wedding supper with the Lamb of God all the while the bride is still on earth….but you see there is one body, ONE BODY.  Ephesians 4 sums in up nicely.  We ( non jews, Hebrews ,GENTILES) were once far away and separated and excluded, utterly estranged and outlawed from the rights of Israel as a nation–strangers with NO share in the sacred compacts of the Messianic promise.  We had no hope, being in the world but without God.   But now, Christ Jesus has brought us near by His blood, He is our peace our bond and unity.  He has made us both Jew and Gentile ONE BODY and abolished the dividing wall between us.  By abolishing HIs own crucified flesh the enmity caused by the Law with  its decrees and ordinances, which He annulled; that He from the TWO might create in Himself ONE new man–one new quality of humanity out of the TWO, so making peace.

When I read these words in Ephesians I am more convinced than ever that we, the gentiles are grafted into the olive tree ( Israel) and we now follow them, and their God is now ours and we are one with them.  Ruth displayed this perfectly when she left her land and became a Jewess and followed what Naomi told her to do.  But that is not what I read  or hear about.   All I ever read about now is how the body is secretly removed, without the dead in Christ rising first, and then God deals with Israel as a separate entity.  I think we are looking at this all wrong.  We are looking in the wrong places and trying to make the end of time fit our model of what we want and what we think we should get.  The Pharisees and Sadducees did the same thing.  They fit the coming of the Messiah to conveniently fit the mold of Christ coming in the power of the throne of David and ruling over all the world and putting and end to their enemies, presently Rome.  The problem was they were looking at what they saw in themselves according to the word of God and not what it said about all the people. they forgot God told Abraham they would be a light to the gentiles.  God already planned to make them one body   Re-Read Ephesians 2 again, slowly and in as many versions as you like.  Christ unites us into one body–one body marries the lamb, one body is the bride, one body to love and enjoy Him forever.  We become the people of God through Christ, just as they become fulfilled through all the law and prophets when they believe and trust the Christ Jesus is their messiah.  No one comes to the Father without the Son.  We both are joined in His death and His resurrection.

So when I see the fall feasts i Look for Christ and the implications of the great deception the God is sending;  and the falling away of the love of the body and a lawless man arising; I am on the lookout.  Satan doesn’t know when either, so he must always have a man of flesh prepared in every era of time, ready to fulfill the scriptures.  Don’t look for your ticket out of here, look to those who are around you and need to know.  What do they need to know?  That you believe, that you believe in this Christ, enough to stake your life on it, and the lives of your children and families.  Tell them what He has done for you.  Ruth did, she followed Naomi and did what she was called to do and Naomi’s God became hers, She ,  the  moabite, cast out of the family of israel for 10 generations because of her people could not be in the congregation of the Lord now became the 10th generation, the one to break the curse and then to become the great grandmother of David. Tell them so they will not be deceived, or ambivalent or a scoffer,  Or do you think that Christian persecution will not happen here?

I don’t have the answers, I am just a fellow disciple on the road following Christ like you, but I choose to look to HIm and wonder–not at a set plan that men have said must happen before Christ returns based on tradition and man centered ideas.  , The Jews during the time of Jesus missed it and Jesus wept over them.  This tribulation will be even worse, if possible the Word of God says, so increase your diet of scriptures, take them to heart. teach them, learn them, and then mentor others.   We all have a piece to play in this puzzle–being a part of the body, one body, one Israel, is the most amazing thing I could have read tonight.  Iam reconciled to His plan through a people He chose from the beginning knowing His Son would bring peace to this world, but only through a magnificent death and resurrection.   I for one am  praying for those under extreme persecution from ISIS and pray that godly teachers will hear from God and tell us  to be ready,to not be deceived and arm ourselves with the full armor of God, for we are in battle…the battle for souls… God Bless and get your nose in that bible as soon as your eyelids open.

Christ returns on a white horse and every one will know who HE is..

Christ returns on a white horse and every one will know who HE is..