Sunday, December 14, 2008

Choose Your Gift Wisely

Isaiah 9: v. 6-7 NIV
6." For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the goverment will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7. Of the increase of his goverment 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 Mighty God will accomplish this."

The realization that Jesus was sent to be a permanent solution for the dilemma of mankind was completely missed by the Pharisees and the people of Israel. They wanted political freedom and freedom from bondage, but were only willing to accept that freedom for a short time. They were short sighted and didn't see beyond the "now" of their lives and their nation.

Had they really given thought to the previous reign of kings, they'd have realized there can never be any long term peace or freedom with any earthly goverment or king. Once a ruler's reign ends, who's to say will take their place, leaving them once again in a vulnerable position.

They were blinded to the words in scripture, such as "there will be no end, forever and Mighty God." Isaiah spoke of a king that would rule forever. He would also be able to deliver them from their sins because he would be divine or holy, something only God could do.

Matthew 1: v. 18, 21 NIV
18. "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary .... was found to be with child through the Holy Ghost." 21. "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."

You have two packages to choose from this Christmas. One is an earthly package wrapped with fancy paper, a huge bow and gives the most sparkle. It's usually the one we reach for first. When opened it may contain an instant but temporary solution or relief to your "now" situation.

The other is a heavenly package, but it isn't wrapped with fancy paper, ribbons and doesn't sparkle.

Luke 2: v. 7 NIV
"She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manager...."

This gift will be chosen with the heart and opened by faith. It was wrapped in love and when opened will reveal in light and glory a permanent and eternal solution for all mankind.

Luke 2: v. 30-32 NIV
30." For my eyes have seen your salvation," 31." which you have prepared...." 32." a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

Which gift will you choose?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Faith Driven

Thursday, Nov. 20th my husband lost his job. Wow! What a blow in light of how I avoided thinking about the economy. Now I was faced with it on a personal level. Not only did he face not having a paycheck until he found another job, that following Monday his car wouldn't start. With perseverance though he walked several miles to get a car part, only to find it wasn't the one needed. The next day, prepared for interviews and wearing dress shoes, he walked several miles again to fill out job applications. He did this every day, walking between finding car parts and trying to find a job. Finally, this past weekend he did get his car fixed.

The Bible speaks of those who had perseverance. It was driven by faith, sometimes not seeing the end result, but trusting God for it.

Hebrews 10: v. 36 NIV
"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."

Chapter 11 of Hebrews gives a long list of those who persevered through faith.

Hebrews 11: v. 7,8
7. By faith Noah, when warned about things, not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. 8. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

I admit I don't have the perseverance that some have. I don't think I'd be able or willing to walk miles as my husband did. This may be because it wasn't God's plan for me. He knows each individual and their abilities. I believe God will give us the faith, energy, courage or whatever it takes for the task at hand and at the time it's needed.

If our pursuit toward a goal, job, etc. is filled with struggles and empty gaps of energy, desire or faith, perhaps we're pursuing a path that isn't God's will. Our perseverance needs to be driven by faith-when we hear God's call. Remember, Abraham responded "when called" and Noah responded "when warned." Sometimes we're not listening.

"Listen ever so quietly." What has God put within your heart to pursue? It's something, perhaps just an idea or a dream, but it's followed by faith. Unlike desires that are worked up by human effort, fizzle out and leave us disappointed, it will be one that is God given and God driven.

My husband is still pursuing a job and we're praying God will direct him to the right one. I'm learning to stop and listen for God's voice in my life. It's a walk by faith that only God can give.

Hebrews 11: v. 1 NIV
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."