Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 19, 2014

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross." Philippians 2:5-8

This is the Apostle Paul's contribution to the Christmas Story!

I like it!

Here's the truth that blesses me most from this great Scripture during this Blessed Season, JESUS HAD EVERYTHING YOU AND I LONG FOR AND HE GAVE THEM UP SO HE COULD COME TO DIE FOR US!

What was the temptation that brought down Lucifer?

Lucifer wanted to be "like God" and convinced himself that was actually possible. It didn't take him long to realize how wrong he had been! Dead wrong!

Was it not a similar temptation that led to the undoing of Adam Eve?

The serpent accused God of hiding knowledge from them because He didn't want them to be "like God" and assured them if they would eat the forbidden fruit they would "be like God".

Why the destructive obsession to "be like God"?

It is the desire to be "large and in charge" and be free from accountability or consequences of their behavior.

If you are God then you don't have to answer "to God"! If you are God you can free yourself from any consequences causes by your actions. That is a very tempting delusion! 

Lucifer couldn't resist nor could Adam or Eve.

But Paul declares that the Son of God, the Second Member of the Trinity, WAS "like God" BUT He didn't cling to that advantage. He let it go! He emptied Himself of all power, all privilege, all popularity, His exalted privilege, and the glorious presence of God.

The VERY thing Lucifer and Adam craved so much it caused them to fall, the Son HAD and GAVE it up to humble Himself unto death!

You must understand that in order to comprehend the depth of your depravity and the breadth of His redemptive grace!

Jesus went 180 from human nature in order to be able to redeem and transform the human nature!

So, what?

Paul says, "Let this mind be in you". 

You are to develop the same mind, to think as Jesus thought when He decided to give up all the advantages of being "like God" in order to come as God's servant and His sacrifice!

You are to empty yourself of all your selfish desires so He can fill your heart, soul and mind with His Spirit!

You CAN be like God, but only through the power and presence of Christ at work in you!

December 18, 2014

"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." Luke 2:10-11

The angel came bringing good news!

And not just good news - good news of great joy!

That announcement presupposes that there was some bad news going on. Uh, yeah! This proclamation came to a people whose politics were bad news. They lived under Roman oppression. And their economy was bad news. They earned very little and much of what they did earn went to the Romans. There was an ultra-wealthy ruling class and a lot of really poor folks and no welfare program. Even worse, their religion was a disaster! It was oppressive, demanding, impersonal and corrupt. This was the world the average Jew lived in! And there was no hope on the horizon!

But then in a remote pasture to some lonely shepherds, hope came! Good news was announced!

As a pastor, I live in a world of bad news. Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear some bad news about someone. I have my own bad news to deal with, too. How do I cope with all the bad news? What am I to do in an ever worsening economy, an ever expanding increasingly oppressive government, and a religion that is daily attacked and minimized?

What are you to do?

Well, I am a minister of "the Gospel". What is the "Gospel"? The "Gospel" means "good news"! In a world of bad news I believe the good news! The very same good news that the angel brought to the shepherds! The good news that Christ has come! A Savior is born! The Savior died for my sins to conquer sin and rose again to conquer death! For me! For you! For everyone who believes and receives the good news!

Am I to deny the bad news? Am I to ignore it? No! I speak good news to it! I deal with bad news in the power of the good news. I live in the knowledge the the good news is more powerful and longer lasting than the bad news! The good news is more real than the bad news! The good news means more and brings more joy in light of the bad news! My hope is in the good news!

As we move into this week before Christmas and as you celebrate Christmas at your church and with your family and in your quiet time with the Lord, rejoice at the reality of the "Gospel" the good news of salvation! God has conquered sin and death and through the power of the good news living in and through you and me He is conquering evil. Rejoice that the bad news will end but the good news is eternal - and only gets better!

That is your good news report for today!