The Real Miracle of Christmas

christ-came-in-the-flesh-as-a-baby-and-christ-still-comes-today

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Christ came in the flesh as a baby and Christ still comes today – manifest in our flesh as we yield our lives to Him.

Scriptures of the Day:

John 1:1-5

1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.”

Hebrews 2:14

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil.”

Movies abound today about the “magic” of Christmas.  Somewhere a child inside hopes it really is true that someone esoterically posing as Santa is the real deal.  Not so much.  But there is One Who really does know when we are sleeping and awake – One Who truly does provide for our needs and watches over us.  He certainly knows whether we have been good or bad and keeps a thorough record of it in His Book of Life.  Even more amazing, when we truly do deserve a boatload of lumps of coal, He gives us eternal life – freely.

But sometimes the miracle of Christmas can get lost in the simple fact that it is a well known story that has been told and retold and we forget just how amazing a reality the miracle of Christ’s birth is and what Christ accomplished in His birth.

Mankind was condemned to a fallen world, no thanks to Adam and Eve (well, we all would have done the same thing).  But right there in that moment, God knew we needed a Savior.

In His sovereignty He planned to come and Himself crush the head of our mortal enemy.  He did it as a baby.  Talk about the enemy being whipped.  

This baby was born miraculously, fulfilling prophecies, fulfilling perfectly the genealogy of Christ, born of a virgin.  A miracle indeed.  Holy.  Righteous.  Fully God and fully man.  How amazing.  Much more amazing to me than reindeer flying through the air – just sayin’. And this same Christ is now revealed through us, His people.

So if we are struggling to get that Christmas “spirit”, perhaps what we need is a healthy dose of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes it is in the simplicity of stepping out of our ordinary routine to give that we have that “Christmas feeling”. How is God leading us now to give during this season? How can we help others around us? Christ modeled what it meant to serve by giving His all. May we do the same.

The miracle of Jesus is not confined to one day. We can search for opportunities to give and serve others not just when we feel celebratory or the calendar dictates the moment.  The miracle of Jesus lives on in the hearts of those who choose to accept Him.

Christ came in the flesh as a baby and Christ still comes today – manifest in our flesh as we yield our lives to Him.

What a miracle this is – Christ in us. When we operate in a manner just like our Father did – giving of Himself, we have the greatest joy, and it is a miracle indeed that He uses us at all.

Merry Christmas, all.  Be a part of the miracle in someone’s life this Christmas.

Lord, thank you for the miracle of Your birth.  I stand in awe of You.  Fill us with the wonder of what You did and Who You are.  Love you!

Mundane Monday: The Calling of Christmas

the-same-god-who-intervened-in-time-and-came-in-the-flesh-is-calling-us-to-participate-in-the-christmas-story-too-2

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The same God Who came in the flesh is calling us to participate in the Christmas story, too.

Scriptures of the Day:

2 Peter 1:10

“Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.”

2 Timothy 1:9-10

“He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but now made visible through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus. He has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!”

We are doing a series at our church during this Christmas season on the calling of God on His people. The same God Who intervened in time and came in the flesh is calling us to participate in the Christmas story, too. Will we be like those who gathered around to adore Him, like those who proclaimed His birth, or will we miss this opportunity altogether?

As a mom, I can get focused on all of the details of buying gifts for my 5 children and all of the aspects of the holiday celebration that I begin to lose perspective. As a wife, I am thinking about how to honor my husband in the purchases and bless him, too. As a worship leader, I am focused on provoking my church to worship God passionately during this Holy season. So many things to be done and so many hearts to affect with the Gospel. But we can’t allow the busyness of the season to hinder the vision God wants us to have for His work and His people – at Christmas and for all of time.

As we remember what God did when he demonstrated His radical love by leaving His throne in Heaven to allow mankind to provide care for Him, God stirs our hearts to respond to this amazing show of His affection for us. To make Himself that vulnerable, entrusting Himself to a wicked people – what lengths God went to in order to reach us with His love – how can we share this love with those around us?

For years my children and I would bake cookies for our entire neighborhood, then go and carol while we gave them out. Violins and guitars were sometimes in tow. We were cold, it was a lot of work, but the joy it brought others as well as ourselves was unmatched. The classical children’s choir I directed would go to nursing homes, raise gifts for local orphanages and sing to encourage others. Sweet times, indeed.

New seasons bring new opportunities and new ways to serve. In all our roles that we serve in on this earth, the greatest is as a child of God. How can we be His vessel today? What mission has He given to us?

What lengths can we go to this Christmas to reach people with the love of God? This is our calling. It might be uncomfortable. It might mean laying down our agendas or doing something different than our tradition (ah, the sacred cow). But when we are motivated by the love of God and give selflessly, we get just a glimpse of what God did for us and our joy is complete.

Truthful Tuesday: To Know Him is to Serve Him

Serving and Knowing God

Photo credits from 924jeremiah.wordpress

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Knowing God means we begin to have His heart for His people, particularly the poor and needy.

Scripture of the Day:

Jeremiah 22:16 (NET)

“He upheld the cause of the poor and needy. So things went well for Judah.’ The LORD says, ‘That is a good example of what it means to know me.'”

Righteousness cannot be attained by good works, yet valid faith cannot exist apart from them. The life hidden in Christ is one that seeks to follow after the Spirit, walking in obedience to God, which will undoubtedly involve service to others.

Christ, Who reigns over all, chose a path of humility and service. His followers will do the same. Seeking to understand the real need around Him, Jesus met people where they were at and ministered to the physical and spiritual need of all people.

When we examine ourselves in light of Scripture and the example of Christ, we will always come up short, but that does not mean we replace the standard of Christ. The plumb line of Jesus reveals our desperate need of a Savior and His costly salvation exposes our inability to ever be able to adequately thank Him for His free salvation.

Christ simply asks that we believe and do what we see Him doing – serving others. Knowing God means we begin to have His heart for His people, particularly the poor and needy.

The same things that burden Him become our mission. In His infinite wisdom, God knows we need to serve others. Our flesh is preoccupied with self, while so many unmeet needs surround us. Knowing God makes all the difference in our service to and for our King and is a witness to the world that our God is living and we belong to Him.

The Holy Spirit within provokes us to do righteous deeds – not to earn our way to Heaven, but because we know God and love Him.

Religion can attempt to do the work of God and make great strides in helping people, but it can never achieve inward heart change. Serving others from a relationship with God is not self-motivated by achieving glory for ourselves or securing a spot in heaven, but fueled by a zeal to please God and initiated by the living Holy Spirit within us.

Ultimately, when we are serving God’s people, we are serving Jesus. Our service to our King might be radically different from person to person. One might be poor materially while another might be poor in spirit. Being sensitive to our Master Who instructs us how to serve, we become the beautiful hands and feet of Jesus, affecting His people for eternity. How blessed are the feet who bring good news!

Lord, help us to see where You are working around us and to join You. May our hearts burn with compassion and may we be poured out for Your glory alone.

Scriptural Sunday: Sacrifice of Praise

Hebrews 13:15

“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name.”

Today as I was leading worship at my church, the LORD was speaking to my heart about a song I had written a few weeks back.  As I prepared to share it with the congregation, my heart’s desire was that the congregation would know that the message in this song was for them, that God loves them so much.  I prayed for healing and that they would know He came for an imperfect, broken people; that His love and grace cover all of our sorrows and shame.

Sometimes people do not understand how someone could stand in front of 500 people, or in front of anyone, for that matter, and sing a song.  What drives a singer/songwriter to do that?  A sacrifice of praise.

Innately, I am a shy person who wept when the LORD first called me to be on the stage to share songs before man.  I grew up playing a mini-tuba (ok, I could say Euphonium, but most of you would probably not know what that was, lol), with the music stand in front of my face so no one could see me.  Now I have a piano in front of me that I have played and led worship with for 24 years.  I like it that way.  Somehow I am hidden and people will see Jesus, not me.

God is glorified in the weak things, and when He enables me to step out of my shy place of comfort to testify how Holy and awesome He is, it is a miracle indeed!  It is an incredibly humbling experience to share a song that was between me and God.  It is as if it is a part of my soul that I am being vulnerable enough to share as an offering – a private moment of worship and thanksgiving to my God, released as a fragrant aroma to Him.

All too often musicians can feel, though, that they are being evaluated – their motives, their desires, their performance. What was acceptable to God can be picked apart.  This speculation makes it even more difficult to step out, but passion for worship of God drives the worship leader on.  If you have ever wondered what is going on in the mind and heart of a worship leader, know that they are imperfect beings who long to worship God and feel an accountability to do so with a pure heart.

We all share our abilities to serve the body of Christ, but ultimately, all our talents are presented to the King of kings as a gift for Him.  Some serve God by greeting the congregation, some serve by caring for children.  Some teach, some preach, some clean, some serve refreshments, some work the sound system and some sing and play instruments.  All are needed and important, all are an offering.

Not one role should be evaluated as better than another.  Jealousy can lead to a bitter root and cause divisiveness that should not take place in the body of Christ when we consider that our positions might look different, but all are an offering to Him.  We would not want to complain about our place and dismantle the sacrifice of praise while we pursue our own glory. It is in those moments that we have to remember Whose glory we are seeking and to just love one another.  That is part of the sacrifice – loving one another despite our different positions in the body of Christ.

If you serve on the worship team, God bless you!  Your labor is not in vain!  If you are led each Sunday by someone serving on the worship team, please encourage these worshipers.  Their hearts are poured out for you and for God.  Indeed, it is a sacrifice but an amazing privilege, as well.

Lord, be glorified in our lives in our worship of You, in everything we do.  Whether we worship You through singing, serving, or in everyday life, may all of it be pleasing in Your sight.

If this blog has ministered to you, perhaps the music ministry of Seeing Deep will, too!  We are raising support to record a new CD.  You can be a part and pre-order the music at: http://www.pledgemusic.com/seeingdeep