"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Whale Evolution 1

Whale Evolution 2

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"In the beginning God created the heavens
and the earth.." So begins the Bible.
John begins, "In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God and the Word was
God. He was in the beginning with God. All
things were made through Him and without
Him nothing was made that was made. In Him
was life and the life was the light of man. And
the light shines in the darkness and the
darkness did not comprehend it.
vs. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt
among us and we beheld His glory, the glory of
the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and
truth."

A story is told of a little boy in early school who
was drawing a picture in class. The teacher asks
him who he is drawing and the little boy replies, "God".
The teacher says, "No one knows what God looks like."
To which the little boy replies, "They will when I
finish my picture."

The truth is Jesus is the picture of God.

John gives us the Christmas story in a different
manner than does Matthew, Mark and Luke.
It is far different than stories of a star, a journey,
Wise Men, Angels and Shepherds. It is a brief
simple statement "God came to live with us as a
human being." A powerful summary of the
birth of Jesus.

Christmas is a time for family, friends, wonderful
fun filled time and of course gifts. I'll bet all of you
remember favorite gifts - both given and received
from years past.
(At this point I picked a random person - someone
I did NOT know and gave her a wrapped gift.)

Well, today I have a gift for Vikki. While Vikki opens
the gift let me go over a few thoughts on gift giving.
1. I am the giver of the gift. There was a little
sacrifice in picking the gift, wrapping it and actually
giving it away instead of keeping it for myself! (It
was chocolate.)
2. And then there is the gift. It is free. Did anyone
see Vikki give me any money? (no) I don't even know
if Vikki deserves a gift! There are no conditions or
strings attached to this gift. I hope it will just be a
reminder of this wonderful Christmas gathering.
3. Vikki gets to keep the gift as she claimed it for her
own.

The greatest gift ever given was the event we
celebrate at Christmas.

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that
He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him
would not perish but have eternal life."

When I was nine years old my brothers and sister
and I had a teenage babysitter who told us one day
all about hell. Now, we attended church sporadically
but not enough to really understand much of anything.
So her description had quite an impact. I remember
asking her how to avoid going to such an awful place.
She replied (and I feel like she meant well), "You must
join the church and get baptized." Imagine my mother's
surprise when Sunday came and we children all insisted
on going to church. Once there I proudly went up and
joined.

Later I was to learn I could have joined every church
in Tampa, FL and still not have been "saved".

We moved to Birmingham (we moved a lot - I went to
4 different elementary schools and 3 high schools).
In our new neighborhood I was the only 13 year old
girl until new neighbors moved in 2 doors down from us.
They were missionaries on home on furlough from Bolivia,
South America. They had 3 children and their oldest was
a 13 year old girl! Kathy and I became friends.
Her parents started a back yard Bible club of sorts and
once a week and old lady (I thought then she was old - now
I realize she was probably all of 30!) would come and
teach flannel graph stories from the Bible. Now the only
reason I went was because Kathy did. We were definitely
the oldest kids there! Sometime during the year the lady
told us that if you were to memorize 500 Bible verses
you could go to summer camp for free. Since I knew this
was the only way I'd get to go I started to work. Now
these people knew what they were doing and the verses
weren't just random thoughts.

I learned Romans 3: 23 "All have sinned and fall short
of the glory of God." This means that we've all done
wrong things in life. We may never have murdered
anyone but we have lied, been angry, been selfish and
so on. Since I've become a grandmother I saw this
in action not long ago. At my granddaughter's 2nd
birthday party as she opened her presents another
little boy there collected them. Soon he loudly
proclaimed that they were HIS gifts and he would
not share. (As one might imagine that did not go
over well with Darcy!).
And I've seen Darcy grab toys from her baby
brothers now several times and loudly proclaim,
"MINE". But isn't that exactly how we feel some
days too!

I also learned Romans 6: 23 "For the wages of sin
is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through
Christ Jesus our Lord." The gift is free for us but
cost Jesus everything.

I John 5: 11-13 says, "The testimony is this: God
has given us eternal life and this life has its source
in his Son. Whoever has the Son has this life;
whoever does not have the Son of God does not
have life. I am writing this to you so that you may
know that you have eternal life - you that believe
in the Son of God."

So as we celebrate Christmas let's not just
remember the birth of Jesus but the reason
for His coming. He was born to die - it was
God's plan to make us Holy as we cannot
do it for ourselves.

I teach science now and I see God all the time
in His creation. But even though He is a mighty,
awesome God, he is not a far away God. He
created each of us. He knows us - what you love,
your sorrows, your joys and your trials. He longs
to have fellowship with you.

How do we respond? Often we try to find happiness
in things or other people, our jobs or you fill in the
blank.

Blaise Pascal said (paraphrasing) that there is
a God shaped hole in all of us that only God can
fill. So even if we try to fill it with other things
we fail. We NEED God.

So Jesus came, grew up, said and did many
amazing things (written about in the Bible
and even history books of that day). Then He
willingly chose to die - for my sins, in my place.
He rose again on the third day conquering death
and sin. And one day He promised He would come
again.

After I learned my 500 verses I also learned that
Jesus was the way to salvation and I accepted
Him. Now I no longer fear death. When I stand
before God He will see Jesus who is my righteousness.
(He has made me right with Him.).

Galations 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with
Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son
of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Revelations has a word picture where Jesus says,
"I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
my voice and opens the door I will come in."

He won't force His way in but He loves you so much
that He will keep on knocking.

When I opened the door I understood what I
really had missed. Now I didn't understand
everything about God - no one can! But Jesus
is daily with me in my life now.

You can pray a simple prayer and ask Jesus to
come into the door of your heart.
"Thank you for sending your son Jesus because
you love me. I realize Jesus died for my sins
that separate me from you. I want to open the
door of my heart and life and let Jesus come in.
Thank you for taking control of my life."

Jesus says, "I will never leave you or forsake you."

I hope you have true joy this Christmas.
(then I encouraged all to get involved in a
neighborhood Bible study).

And this is my hope for all of you who read
this.
Pax

2 comments:

De'Etta said...

Wonderful talk, Chris. Thanks for sharing.

Kristine said...

Chris, love it. I was wondering how your talk had gone. I was really drawn by how you went back and forth between the verses and your life, tying everything together at the end.