How To Celebrate Christmas Daily in New Year 2015 and Beyond

Christmas angels on Stafford St. Timaru herald the start of Christmas celebration for more than 3 decades now.

Christmas angels on Stafford St. Timaru had heralded the city’s Christmas season for more than 3 decades now.

“Merry Christmas”

The most uttered phrase or greeting each Christmas season, spoken for infinite number of times by peoples of the world.

As the zenith of the Christmas season comes 25th December, so does our greeting one another intensifies. We just love to celebrate Christmas,aren’t we?

Well, if we really love celebrating Christmas and we want to honour Jesus the Christ of Christmas, then we should face the challenge of celebrating Christmas daily.

How to celebrate Christmas everyday? Let the exhortation of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:1-11 guide us.

Humility

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

Yes, everyday, let us keep the humble spirit, acknowledging that all that we are, all that we have are because of God’s overflowing and never-ceasing mercies and grace.

Servant-hood

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)

Are you ready to break your seasonal celebration of Christmas by shifting from symbolical giving to total sacrificial giving as what Jesus has done?

It’s easy to give gifts on Christmas but it’s very challenging to really go out of your comfort zone, “pour out” yourself and be involved in uplifting the quality of life of your fellowmen throughout the year.

Take your Christian service to the next level by being involve actively in the service of humanity and for the glory of God.

Lifelong Commitment

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8)

Celebrating Christmas daily requires lifelong commitment. It doesn’t stop on 25th December and will resume again next year’s Christmas season.

Jesus Christ’s example is “becoming obedient to death”

I hope Christmas isn’t just the highlight of our holiday season. May after celebrating our excitement about Christmas won’t falter nor die down.

May our greeting one another “Merry Christmas”, giving gifts to our children, loved ones and friends, lead to our recognising and achieving the bigger challenge of celebrating Christmas daily, as long as we live and until He comes.

As God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, may all people at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 paraphrase mine)

 

false religiousity

Are You Resting in the Shadow of the Almighty or Hiding Under the Cloak of Religiousity?

false religiousity

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91: 1)

Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. (1 Peter 2:16)

There’s a need to evaluate ourselves on the basis of the Bible verses shared above.

I have known a lot of people who have mastered religiousity but neglected the most important element of the Christian belief, which is LOVE.

These ‘religious’ people have the skills and capability to quote scriptures on any situation of life but fail to manifest the true meaning of loving God above all else and loving one’s neighbour as they love themselves.

People who are hiding under the cloak of religiousity to exact their evil ways are more dangerous than those who are upfront with their evil intent.

There are some Christians who are good in quoting Bible verses out of context and delight in using them to “arm twist” people who are also religious but vulnerable.

They expect people to treat them more highly than they think because they are smart in Biblical knowledge, zealousness in prayer, pastor-like behaviour but they fail in showing the fruit of the real Christ disciple, primarily humility.

To paraphrase what the Psalmist said in Psalm 91:1, one is resting in the shadow of the Almighty if you are dwelling in the shelter of the Most High.

Let us not hide under the cloak of religiousity and pretend to follow and serve God, when in fact we are serving our own personal agenda and gain.

Let us rest in the shadow of the Almighty and be honest and just in our dealings with one another, deeply and sincerely aware that in God’s shelter, nothing is hidden.

forgiveness of God

Cancelled Without Prejudice – A Lenten Season Reflection

forgiveness of God

The phrase “Cancelled Without Prejudice” is used in embassy or consulate decision to changed the current visa for correction or change of status.

For migrants or those travelling abroad, having the phrase stamped on your passport means that your other visas in the passport remains valid and does not prejudice future visa applications.

“Cancelled Without Prejudice” signifies that you have gotten a new visa that might be better than the preceding one.

In this season of Lent, I see Jesus Christ, his suffering, death and resurrection as God’s living “Cancelled Without Prejudice” stamp for us.

If receiving a visa that would make indefinite our stay in our chosen foreign land brings much joy, how much more when we’re getting a “Cancelled Without Prejudice” status from God and having the great assurance of infinite stay with Him in Heaven.

Yes, there’s more to life than just getting an earthly visa and probably, travelling round and round the world until you wear out and die.

As Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story would say, “To infinity and beyond”, let us take the chance to really travel to infinity and beyond with God.

While embassies need lots of documents and fees, God requires a contrite heart and commitment to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

It is free. No fees required for Jesus Christ has paid the price.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24)

Come in humility before the Lord, confess your sin and express your need of the Redeemer, accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord.

Let your sinful life be “Cancelled Without Prejudice” before God and become an eternal citizen of heaven.

Blessings of Fearing the LORD

 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:7

One time, I heard a colleague singing the first four lines of the chorus of “I Am A Friend Of God” with the lyrics below.

I AM AFRAID OF GOD
I AM AFRAID OF GOD
I AM AFRAID OF GOD
HE CALLS ME FRIEND!

The correct word should have been “friend” instead of “afraid”.

Whether my colleague didn’t hear the lyrics correctly or he used “afraid” on purpose, I did not correct him.

I believe the theological meaning of “afraid” is stronger than “friend”.

I realized that when we have genuine fear of the LORD we are bound to obey Him. Oftentimes, it is easy for us to disagree with a friend or never heed a good friendly advice.

Some of the blessings that we avail when we truly fear the LORD include:

  • Discernment of what’s right and wrong
  • Courage to tell the truth
  • Passionate about what is just
  • Humility

When we are afraid of God, we fear doing things that will dishonour Him.


 

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Are You Afraid of God? Blessings of Fearing the LORD

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:7

Thunderclouds

One time, I heard a colleague singing the first four lines of the chorus of “I Am A Friend Of God” with the lyrics below.

I AM AFRAID OF GOD
I AM AFRAID OF GOD
I AM AFRAID OF GOD
HE CALLS ME FRIEND!

The correct word should have been “friend” instead of “afraid”.

Whether my colleague didn’t hear the lyrics correctly or he used “afraid” on purpose, I did not correct him.

I believe the theological meaning of “afraid” is stronger than “friend”.

I realized that when we have genuine fear of the LORD we are bound to obey Him.

Oftentimes, it is easy for us to disagree with a friend and don’t heed good friendly advice.

Some of the blessings we avail when we truly fear the LORD:

  • Wisdom (Discernment of what’s right and wrong)
  • Courage to tell the truth
  • Passionate about what is just
  • Humility

When we are afraid of God, we fear doing things that will dishonour Him.

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Why Conflicts Exist in Organizations

 

What causes fights and quarrels among you?
Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
You desire but do not have, so you kill.
You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.
You do not have because you do not ask God.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,
that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:1-3

Reading the passages above, I now understand why fights and quarrels are existing even within Christian organizations and among pastors and leaders in the church.

James candidly outlines what they are:

  • You desire but do not have
  • You covet
  • You ask with wrong motives

Strife afflicts your organization?  

Try to look around and know who’s causing all the troubles, then see.

Are they not the persons who desire but do not have, covetous, and having wrong motives?

It is very important that you also check yourself.  You might be one of the persons causing the fight and quarrel.

I believe that in every requests and aspirations that we have there is always that human element, that personal agenda. God knows your mind and heart. You can’t hide your motive from Him.

So it’s better to check and present whatever personal motive you may have before the Lord. Then pray for God to change your personal motive into one that would give glory and honor to Him.

Where does the power of prayer come from?

Based on what James mentioned, there is more to prayer than the spoken requests.

While the uttered words in prayer greatly comfort us, especially when we hear someone claim God’s promise of deliverance and providence, prayer goes beyond this.

It is the pilgrim’s contrite heart beating in repentance, humility and surrender that gives power to the prayer.

What answers to your prayers the Lord God gave you recently? Please feel free to share your testimony. Write it on the comment form below.