Tuesday, December 20, 2016

O Holy Night

This week Michael writes: Christmas celebrates the birth of the Messiah, the Redeemer, our Savior Jesus Christ ...O Holy Night when Christ was Born!  Christmas ...“old English: Crīstesmæsse, meaning "Christ’s Mass”, more of Christ and less of me.  As John the Baptist said, "I must decrease that he may increase."

In our culture, Christians may have chosen the wrong battles to fight. The secular culture has fought relentlessly against the truth of the Word of God to make popular culture less Christian. When you leave  a church service, you're walking into enemy territory. As men and women of God, our mission by God's power is to "roll up the score" for Jesus Christ on the scoreboard of the spiritual contest. This season of the advent of the Messiah is a perfect time to introduce a secular world to the King of kings, for the government shall be upon his shoulders. Government is of God because God is a God of order. In contrast to God's order, where there is chaos and confusion, there is every evil work.

Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. Peace is the result of reconciliation between God and mankind. Reconciliation was completed by the perfect sacrifice of the Prince of Peace, God's sinless son Jesus Christ on behalf of sinful man. The focus and the fulcrum of history is the story of His story. The Prince of Peace was not born in a palace. Rather, God deliberately chose a lowly feeding trough for Mary to lay her newborn baby, God's only begotten son. The wise men from the East knew of the birth of the Messiah from reading God's message in the stars. Daniel had taught the Babylonians how God had written his word in the heavens. The story of the Magi reveals that God announced to the Gentiles as well as the Judean shepherds that "unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder."

Christmas ushered in the season of hope of human redemption. Jesus' mission was to redeem mankind as the sinless sacrifice, the payment for sin by the shedding of innocent blood. As Redeemer, He came to open the eyes of those born blind, to set the prisoners free, to proclaim deliverance to the poor, and to preach the acceptable year of The Lord. The powers of the world were threatened by the advent of the Messiah.  Because Herod feared the "King of the Jews" and the righteous judgment of God, he killed all the boys in his kingdom under the age of two. However, the evil of this world cannot prevail against the righteousness of God ... for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and dominions, against the powers of darkness, against spiritual wickedness from on high.

Today, the power of darkness focuses their opposition against Christianity and the Followers of Christ. Even though "politically correct" local governments often refuse to allow the opening of their public meetings with prayer, the Supreme Court of the United States says that you can in fact invoke the name of God in a meeting of local governments. The definition of "invocation" is to summon the presence of deity ... the first commandment says "thou shalt have no other Gods before me." A local pastor was recently asked to deliver the invocation and a message about leadership at the swearing-in ceremony for new leadership at the City Council of his town. The event planners  gave him a long list of "guidelines" of what he could and could not say. After he explained the meaning of "invocation", they finally agreed to allow him to speak freely. They reached this decision because those who recommended the pastor were well respected by the City Council.  According to the pastor's message, when the crisis comes, those who elected you to the Council will expect that you will make sound decisions in the face of adversity. The opposite of public service is pride. Leadership finds its finest hour when leaders sacrifice their own egos for the good of others ... when they live consistently with their internal code of virtuous values ... when they make unpopular righteous decisions in opposition to the fleeting whims of popular "political correctness." Leadership is to follow in the footsteps of the one who proclaimed, "he that is chiefest among you shall be servant of all." We have been called to a higher calling ... the deeper the darkness, the brighter the light shines. The essence of the message is that God has called leaders not to deliver candles in the darkness, but to be the candle ... let your light so shine among men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven. He has called men and women of God for such a time as this ... not to deliver the message but to be the message.

Despite the tribulation of this world and the opposition of evil men and women, we look forward to Christ's second coming, for He will return as of King of kings and Lord of lords. For now, we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see him face to face, for we shall know him even also as we are known.  What a day of rejoicing that shall be!

May God richly bless you during this Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child ... the advent of our Lord and Savior, the Messiah, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. 
O Holy Night when Christ was Born!

Merry Christmas!

Your brother in Christ, Michael 

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