Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 28, 2011

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him 'Immanuel' which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

There is so much good news that surrounds the Christmas story! It tells us a lot of good things about God and how much He loves us.

In two separate accounts about the coming of Christ the good news is revealed regarding God's desire to be with us. He was to reveal Himself to us. He wants to be known by us. He wants to fellowship with us. Amazing isn't it?

We have always known that God is for us. He created us! The Old Testament is filled with the news that God is for us. It it rife with demonstrations of His power and might on our behalf. There is no way you can read the Old Testament and not conclude that God is for us.

If there is someone you want to be for you it is most certainly God!

The wonder of the Christmas story is how a God Who is for us came to be with us. It happened in a most amazing and wonderfully peculiar way! Only the mind of God could conjur such a perfect plan! All the Gods of the pagans demanded that their adherents somehow measure up to their status. But our God, the true God of the universe, humbled Himself and condescended to us!

More amazing than the fact that He did it is how He did it. God called a teen-aged virgin to be the mother of His Son. This child would have to be conceived by the Holy Spirit so He could be born sinless. Why sinless? Because only a sinless Son could become an atoning sacrifice for sin. Perfect!

God, through the mystery of the incarnation, came to be with us because He was for us!
But the news is even better! The God Who is FOR us came to be WITH us because He wants to be IN us!

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"  John 1:12

God's desire is for us to receive Him through faith in Jesus so He can fill us with His Spirit and transform our heart and mind. He wants us to deliver us from our spiritual death and darkness and lead us into His life and light! When He does that He tranforms our mind and gives us eternal life.

So here is the wonderful news of the Christmas miracle, the God Who was FOR us, came to be WITH us, so He could be IN us - because He wants us to be WITH Him for eternity!

Christmas is "Immanuel" - God with us! That changes everything! Will you let Him change you?

November 27, 2011

"Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" Genesis 3:8-9

"About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46

Here are three of the most tragic verses in the entire Bible. They are tragic because they speak of broken relationship. Pain oozes from these words. Loved one who desire to be in fellowship have found that their fellowship has been severed.

It is painful to be separated from someone you love and desire to be with but there is a barrier preventing that from happening. You want to be with them but you can't.

I remember when my parents were divorced. I was just a very young child but I remember missing my dad after he left and wishing I could be with him. But then, when I went to be with him I would miss my mother. I was grieved that I couldn't be with them both. I often fantasized about how great it would be to have my parents together. So my childhood was haunted by this empty feeling of broken fellowship.

Many of you know what I am talking about.

God knows what I am talking about. So does Jesus. They both knew the heartache of being separated or alienated form the one you love.

Every morning since Adam had been created He and God had walked hand in hand, face-to-face in the beautiful Garden known as Eden. Obviously, Adam enjoyed it (who wouldn't!) but amazingly, God looked forward to it as well. Think about that - God wanting to fellowship with you!

But one sad and fateful morning God came to the appointed place at the regular time - but no Adam - nowhere. So God calls out, "Adam! Where are you?"

Heart-breaking isn't it?

Want some good news?

God wanted to be with us and have fellowship with us far more than we wanted to be with Him! Yes, He did! And so God did something to repair the breech, to redeem our race, and to restore the fellowship.

"But God commended His love toward us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us."

God loves us that much? Yes! And it would cost Him one more painful separation. He would have to send His Son to earth, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a woman, to become a sinless sacrifice for the sins of mankind. That meant Jesus leaving Heaven.

Because Jesus took our sins upon Himself and died on the cross as a sinner, God had to turn away from His Son. For the first time in all of eternity Father and Son were separated. It was the only way that Jesus, the second Adam, could undo the damage of the first Adam.

That is the amazing, joyous news of Christmas! God bore the pain of separation so that we would never again have to be alienated from Him!