Cross-in Destiny

Recently I came across a painting called “Destiny” which I believe appropriately captures the intent of Christmas. It had the following words inscribed underneath it. “Most of us spend our lives seeking our destiny. One Man [Jesus] created His own. It began in a manger and led to a cross, and it included you. You too have a destiny, and someday … someday soon, your destiny will cross with His.”

Do you know what your destiny is and has it crossed with His [Jesus’]? Without Christ Jesus and His cross, one has no destiny. Our destiny must cross in with His. His included you, does yours include Him?

John 3:16 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Image Source: Kingdom Galleries

Christmas changes death to departure

Luke 2:25-35 records the prophecy of Simeon; a just and devout man, on whom was the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit of God had revealed to Simeon, that Simeon would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Salvation. And when he sees Jesus, Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and blesses Him, recognizing that it is Jesus who is the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise of Salvation to all mankind. Interestingly, after his encounter with Jesus,  Simeon, expresses, “My eyes have seen the salvation of the Lord, now, Lord, let your servant depart in peace”. Though Simeon was to die (experience death), he expresses that he can now depart (not die) in peace.

Those who experience (see) Jesus as their personal Savior have no reason to be concerned or worried about death. Death no longer has any power over those who believe and accept Jesus. They can assuredly depart in peace.

Have you had that personal encounter/experience with Jesus Christ; the Salvation of the Lord; who changes death to a departure of peace?

Luke 2:25-35 (KJV)
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

To shine like the Christmas star

Most nativity scenes and Christmas trees have a star that is significantly displayed and this Christmas season as I saw some of these stars, I wondered about the role that the star plays in the Salvation story of Christmas. For those unaware, this star guides those who sought to come and worship Jesus, who was the born King, to where He was. It did not stop until the men that sought Jesus had found Him.

So what can learn from the star in this story?

Though the Star of Christmas lay in a manger, there was a star that pointed the way to the wise men that sought Jesus. We must be like the Christmas star as well. We must shine in such a manner that our lives must point those who are seeking a Savior to Jesus Christ; and all who seek Christ are indeed wise. We must not stop until those around us find Jesus. We are to shine like the Christmas star.

Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Philippians 2:15 (KJV)
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights (stars) in the world

Jesus’ Birthday Gift

On Christmas day, as we prepared to go for worship to the Church, I explained to our beloved 4 year old son, Reuben, as to what Christmas is all about. I told him that it was the birthday of Jesus and asked him if he had wished Jesus, a “Happy Birthday”. Then I asked him as to what gift, he would want to give to Jesus, on this day? As he pondered, I told him, that the best birthday gift, one can give to Jesus is his or her very own life. I noticed the expression change on my son’s face from inquisitiveness to concern. Then he said, “if we give our life to Jesus as a gift, won’t we be dead?”. I started to tell him, that what I meant was not necessarily the physical offering of our lives, but stopped as I realized that there was a hidden truth in what my son (whom I believed was being used by the Holy Spirit of God) said.

Our lives should be an offering to Jesus, as his gift, in such a manner, that we can join in with Apostle Paul and express “It is no longer, I who live, but Christ Jesus who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Being dead to self and sin, and offering our lives to Christ Jesus is the best birthday gift we can give to Jesus. It goes far beyond, just wishing Jesus a “Happy Birthday”, because when one offers their life to Jesus (by believing in His Name and accepting Him to be their Lord and Savior), it will truly be a very “Happy Birthday” for Him, with a lot of rejoicing in heaven, where He has gone to prepare a place for all who believe in Him (John 14:3).

Jesus was God’s gift to man kind, and our gift to Him is our life! Have you given the gift of your life to Jesus, as His birthday gift?

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The Christmas Exchange

Often we talk about Jesus as the gift of God to mankind on Christmas, but seldom do we recognize Christmas as an exchange. On the first Christmas night, an exchange took place. It was the exchange, that Danny Box, the lead pastor of Hill Country Bible Church in Pflugerville, called outrageous implying that “it is not right” for God to exchange

  1. His rights of deity for restraints of humanity
  2. His majestic splendor for horrific shame and
  3. His eternal relation for an experience of rejection

This exchange was not only outrageous but outlandish implying “how can this be”, because His exchange leads to a transformation from

  1. A sinner to a saint
  2. An adversary to being adopted and
  3. Death to Life (abundantly)

Now the questions that remains are, upon hearing this Gospel truth of this outrageous and outlandish exchange, are we willing to

  1. exchange our rights of humanity for the restraints of deity? i.e., total surrender so that the Holy Spirit God is in control of our lives
  2. being shamed for His name now to share in His splendor and glory when He returns? and
  3. experience ephemeral separation with the ways of the world for an eternal relation with Jesus Christ; God the father?

Merry Christmas or should I say, “Merry Exchange!”

The Never-Giving-Up God

My beloved wife, Sangeetha and I were talking about the qualities in which we would like our much loved son, Reuben, to grow up with and to, and she expressed that more than Reuben being the smartest or the fastest, she certainly would like him to have two qualities; Humility and a “Never Give Up” attitude i.e., Persistence. As we discussed, I realized that the answer to the question “Why we have Christmas?” was hidden in our conversation. The very essence of Christmas is reflective of these two qualities; The Humility of God and the Persistence of God.

God never gave up on man,  despite man’s (yours and mine) unfaithfulness and rebellion. God so loved the world (you and me) that He gave us His Son (John 3:16), Jesus Christ who humbled Himself by giving up His rights of Divinity for the restraints of humanity, and was born in a manger. Jesus’ Persistence and Humility is furthermore evident even unto the point of death, even death on a Cross (Philippians 2). In the manger, the Cross overshadowed the cradle because God is a Never-Giving-Up God.

Points to Ponder
If and only if God had “given up” on mankind, we would have never had Christmas.
God never gives up on you or me!

Atomic Christ Jesus

Noble laureate Physicist, Albert Einstein once said, “It is easier to denature plutonium, than to denature the evil spirit of man.” Time Magazine, in its April 08, 1946 issue, published under the title “Science: Denatured Plutonium” that “Uranium 235 and plutonium can be denatured; such denatured materials do not readily lend themselves to the making of atomic explosives, but. . . can be used for the peaceful applications of atomic energy.” The process of denaturing involves the mixing of another element with plutonium, so that the plutonium is not in and of itself destructive.

Unless our evil spirit is denatured from our nature, it can result in atomic explosions of our lives that can be devastating. For in sin were we conceived i.e., our evil nature is in us from birth (Psalm 51:5). And in order for us to be denatured of our evil nature, there is only one way possible, which is for us to mix with Jesus Christ. In fact Jesus Christ was born to save mankind from their sin (Matthew 1:21). When we trust in Jesus that He is a Son of God, and believe in His name, we are made one with (mixed) Christ Jesus, and He purges any self-destructive elements (sin) in us. Upon being denatured, Jesus changes us from being harmful to being useful (for peaceful applications) in His kingdom business.

Matthew 1:21 (KJV)
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Romans 7:24-25 (KJV)
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

God Manifest

American pastor, preacher, author, editor, speaker and mentor, A.W. Tozer eloquently put it the “Our pursuit of God is successful, just because He is forever seeking to manifest Himself to us.” In other words, we find God when we seek Him, because, God is seeking us as well. The ultimate manifestation of God to mankind was 2000+ years ago, when Jesus Christ, was born into His own world.

God’s manifest to mankind is Jesus Christ and none other. His name shall be called Immanuel, which means God with us; a.k.a., God manifested to us. The question that then remains and which matters is “Is God manifested in us?“. This happens when we believe in Jesus Christ and trust in Him.

Secret Ambition of God

During the Christmas season, it is crucially important to recognize the significance of the reason as to why Jesus had to be born as a  human. When a child comes to a discerning age, they aspire for an ambition that would  allow them to live life to the fullest. We as human are born to live. On the other hand, Jesus Christ had a secret ambition. He was born as a human not to live but instead to give his life away, as aptly put by Michael W. Smith in his song, ‘Secret Ambition’.

Nobody knew His secret ambition
Nobody knew His claim to fame
He broke the old rules steeped in tradition
He tore the Holy Veil away
Questioning those in powerful position
Running to those who called His name
(But) Nobody knew His secret ambition
Was to give His life away.

Mark 10:45 (KJV)
45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

The Symbol of Righteousness!

One of the names of the Lord is Jehovah-tsidkenu. This means the Lord our Righteousness.

Interestingly, the Chinese word yi, which means righteousness is comprised of two characters, one on top of the other. The character yang which means lamb is placed on top of the character wo which means me (or self or I). When the lamb is placed on top of self, righteousness results.

Our righteousness are akin to filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and so on our own merit, we stand no chance. Thankfully, it is not our righteousness that matters. But praise be to God the Father, who made a provision for us to inherit eternal life. When we place our trust in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) we are imputed righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:30). When we place our self underneath the Lordship of the Lamb of God, Righteousness (that matters) results.