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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

blustar1

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

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A Word in the silence

Light in the darkness

One single ember scatters a blaze — millions of sparks,

Each a sun, a planet — glowing into light-years of space.

A Word births galaxies, spins orbits, sets morning stars singing,

Light giving life.

.

Somewhere a small blue-green ball sees its first sunrise.

Time as He counts it — all times are now — streams by,

shimmering light and encroaching dark

until

a Star slips to earth,

shines from the misty eyes of a newborn.

Stars spin, galaxies dance,

the Light flashes to the corners of our soul-darkness.

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Eons, moments, till the Light extinguishes the darkness

with a Word cried from a cross,

splits the borders of death with Light

deafens the silence with the Word.

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Planets spiral, stars rise and set,

Light blasts through clinging blue-green shadows

with the voice of the Angel,

the trumpet-Word of God.

Morning rays of a million nebulae flash

A forever-day, never night again.

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The Word made flesh, God from the beginning;

before stars dawned in Orion’s belt,

before the singing of planets,

before any shadow fell,

before we — less than sparks

in the eons-long conflagration of space —

before we saw the Light of His glory,

God, first, last, and forever,

Is.

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For the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

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war on Christmas

The above was posted on Facebook on Friday.  I have to admit, I didn’t read it carefully the first time, and saw “no war on Christians”.  I thought about it more as I went through the day.  When I checked back to reply, I realized it was “no war on Christmas”.  I actually agree with the sentiments there, for the most part.  I don’t actually agree that wishing someone a “merry Christmas” is a bad thing — to me, “happy holidays” is fairly meaningless to the point of being vapid.  Sort of like the phrase “best wishes” — what does that even mean?  But I do realize that many people don’t celebrate Christmas but some other holiday at this time (some do both!), and people may not have the same expectations of the Christmas season that I do, since they aren’t Christian.  I don’t have a problem with that, and if anyone wants to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, fine!  All we’re saying is, “I’m happy right now because it’s a holiday season and I want you to be happy too!”  Everyone can stop having a fit — now!

But what I was thinking about as a result of misreading the post is actually a valid point.  Christianity (as a major religion in America) is becoming the minor majority.  Let me explain how Christianity is in danger.   There are a lot of other religions and cultures in the world, and in this country, each with their own customs, standards, expectations, and — yes — holidays.  In this age of global awareness and ethnic diversity, I agree with the idea that we need to be cognizant of, and respectful to, other cultures.  This same respect needs to be extended to Christians.  It is not.

Christianity is in danger when people who usually preach open-mindedness feel free to say and spread mocking things about Christians and their beliefs.  I usually see this as Facebook posts (such as the above), with a comment about how silly, or stupid, or backward, or ________ (fill in the blank) Christians are to be thinking or saying XYZ (usually to do with something political).  If statements in the same vein (mocking Christians’ belief in literal creation rather than the theory of evolution, for a recent example) were made about the Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu religion, there would be an uproar against that person.  See what happened when the Danish cartoonist lampooned Muslims!  If a Christian mocked Muslims for wearing hijab, Hindus for drinking Ganges water, or Buddhists for looking within themselves to gain enlightenment, there might be a few who agreed, but mostly that person would have unleashed a storm upon his head.  But many people, whether they style themselves, pagans, atheists, agnostics, or just plain nothing, feel free to mock, satirize, and ridicule Christian beliefs that may seem just as odd to outsiders as the non-Christian beliefs I listed.  It has become popular to ridicule Christians.  And no one raises a fuss.    That is why many Christians feel their religion is in danger — the ‘minor majority’, if you will.

That isn’t the real reason, however, why I feel Christianity is in danger.  Christianity is in danger right now partly because it is being attacked from within.

  • Christianity is in danger when those who call themselves Christians use their religion as a front for bigotry, hatred, and power playing
  • Christianity is in danger when people use Christian beliefs as a stick to beat others with (who may not believe the same way)
  • Christianity is in danger when people who call themselves Christians (part of that 243,186,000, actually) refuse to adhere to basic principles of integrity, mercy, justice, humility, and service.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians blindly accept the unbiblical teachings of leaders who counsel them to follow tradition and an easier, more acceptable path, rather than pointing them to truth as clearly stated in the Bible (no matter how personally inconvenient it might be).
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians look for a “feel-good” religion rather than conviction of their sins and their personal, constant need of a Savior.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians focus on the trappings of food, decorations, rituals, and gifts that surround the holidays (Easter too!) and lose the real point of the holidays we celebrate in memory of the work God can do in our lives.
  • Christianity is in danger when we would rather give money, or even time, to people in need and neglect to tell them about God and His saving grace. “These things you ought to have done, and not left the other undone” (Luke 11:42).
  • Christianity is in danger when we are more worried about offending people by sharing our faith than offending God, who has commanded us to “go into all the world”.  Think about it.  In a world of nearly 7 billion, just over 2 billion (2.18) are Christian.  That’s a drop in the bucket of what God has asked of us!

My Facebook friend is right.  No one is making war on Christmas.  Not overtly.  Our greed does that just fine.  No one is deliberately making war on Christians, not really.  Not in the physical sense.  Not in America.  We are allowing our natural, unsanctified human tendencies to take charge — as if we had no Savior to help us deal with our sinful nature — and showing the world what an un-surrendered heart really looks like. No one is hindering the spread of Christianity.  Not really.  We are allowing our fears of embarrassment and social criticism to dissuade us from sharing what should be an unpopular message to most, if it is truly spread.  Truth is always unpopular, and no more so than truth that requires the person receiving it to change.  And the best example of that is every single Christian (including me!) who has not opened their heart and asked God to sweep it clean and dwell in it.

So as we begin December — let’s begin the Christmas season not with greed, aggression, busy-ness, or desire for control.  Let’s surrender that stubborn self to God.  Ask Him to save Christianity, not from others, but from you.  And start Christmas with a peace treaty — with the Prince of Peace.

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light…

(from John 1 and 3)

in the beginning

all was darkness

void

empty

alone

then God spoke the Word

Let there be light

and it was so

Light came into the darkness

filled it

created life

and it was good

.

in the fullness of time

the world was weighted with darkness

hatred

anger

evil

human souls were

alone

empty

meaningless

then God spoke

It is time

and it was so

Light shone in the darkness

the Word became flesh

God with us the Light of the world

and it was good

.

one day darkness rose

evil loomed in anger

full of hatred and emptiness

as the sky turned black

they nailed to the cross the Word

alone

the earth shook and God spoke

My God why have you forsaken me

and it was so

when He hung his head and the Light of the world was

extinguished

the Word said It is finished and darkness fell

broken

and it was good

and it was

.

good

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“Give us this day our daily bread…”

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well (Luke 12:22-31).

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Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

 I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever” (John 6:35-40, 48-51, 54-58).

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Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, Lord, on you alone we feed;

Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, for you satisfy our need.

Always may our hearts be fed with your true and living bread,

Day by day with strength supplied through the life of Christ who died.

Wine of heaven, wine of heaven, O the joy your love supplies,

Wine of heaven, wine of heaven, O blest cup of sacrifice.

By your wounds our sin forgive, to your cross we look and live.

Christ our life! O let us be dead to self and one with Thee.

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in a low-carb life

we pursue

more filling options

a spiritual atkins diet

pursuing the meat of

theological debate

embracing a vegan

lifestyle

(because it is trendy

and politically

correct)

forgetting

when He said

I am the bread

He meant simple

faith

and daily sustenance

yielding

our hunger for more

only to be filled

by the broken

true bread

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guilt

is not a

knife

severing me

from my bad habits

not an alarm

to keep me

from doing

wrong

guilt is a backpack

filled with

stones

crushing

weighing me

down

a black

mark

on my soul

branding me

a sinner

bowing my head

slumping my shoulders

until a

touch —

i look up

the mark is

gone

the stones

rolled away

He walks

away

shoulders slumped

head bent

carrying my

guilt

and i —

i am free

because of Him.

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stacking stones

of righteous indignation

cornerstones of

furious intolerance

of those who were

different

abnormal

rebelling against

What Is Right

aberrations

of rules kept

by the right-

thinking elements

the chink of

rock

the scrape

of stony

hearts

blind to love

and need

each boulder selected

with rabid care

judging sharp edges

of injustice

to cut out

those who do

Wrong

heaping facts of flint

shards

of sacramental

political laws

and He said

“whoever is without

sin

let him cast

the first stone”

and the

Sinless One

stooped

and wrote

Love

in the dust

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in tidying up the crumpled paper

tangled ribbons

presents-to-be-exchanged

when you untangle the lights

and pack up the ornaments

put the wreath in its box

finish the cookies

as you wrap up the creche

and tuck Jesus away for

another year

don’t forget

to put away that

peace

joy

love

goodwill toward men

you don’t leave them out

all year

they aren’t fashionable

decor

for the modern house

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