Archive for December, 2012

It started not with myth or legend

No princess, prince, knight or dragon

There was no witch nor storm to fear

But came upon a midnight clear

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It was foretold years ago

In ancient books, the story goes

A people separate from their Maker

Lost in life’s endless crater

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They pulled and tugged and scratched and clawed

But there was no end for they were flawed

What did they need to be set free?

Brains, talent, strength indeed?

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They looked to warriors in their might

Their savior though, nowhere in sight

What man would come, what king to save?

No man, no king, a lowly babe

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Born not to riches or earthly glory

For that would be no great story

Instead he came poor and plain

GodMan here, Jesus his name

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A life righteous did he live

Into temptation he did not give

But perfect, spotless lamb and lion

Finally a Savior to rely on

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His life uneasy, hard, and cruel

Mocked beaten called a fool

To save his people, the ultimate cost

He gave himself to die on the cross

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Weeping, wailing, his death mourned

Lasted till that glorious morn

With death, sin, separation no more

He rose our Savior and our Lord

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The greatest story some have not heard

Of Jesus Christ the Living Word

Not for some but all he gave

Let us recall this Christmas Day

In Christ’s Love,
Josh

Moses vs. Jesus

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

JesusMosesI believe if there was a survey taken of the most well-known and respected men in the Bible these two would rank extremely high, if not highest.  For Christians Jesus ranks as the highest of all being their Lord and Savior.  For Jews it is Moses that holds this spot for his saving of the Israelites from Egypt and for the books that are known as the Law.

If one studies the main aspects of each of these godly men’s lives, similarities can be found.  We shall take a look at both the similarities and differences of these two men.

First let us start with the similarities:

Moses was a Jew(Ex. 2:1-2).  Jesus was a Jew(Mt. 1:1-17).  Moses saved his people(Ex. 14:27).  Jesus saved his people(1 Jn. 4:14).  Moses had a disciple(Dt. 34:9).  Jesus had disciples(Mk. 3:13-21).  Moses had a loving mother(Ex. 2:3).  Jesus had a loving mother(Jn. 19:26-27).  Moses had to flee for his life as an infant(Ex. 2:3).  Jesus had to flee for his life as an infant(Mt. 2:13-15).  Moses met with God(Ex. 33:12).  Jesus met with God(Jn. 1:1).  Moses scorned those that strayed from God(Ex. 32:27).  Jesus scorned those that strayed from God(Jn. 2:13-17).  Moses performed miracles(Ex. 7-10).  Jesus performed miracles(Jn. 20:30-31).  Moses died(Dt. 34:5).  Jesus died(Jn. 19:30).

Ok, now for the differences:

Moses was a shepherd by trade(Ex. 3:1).  Jesus was a carpenter by trade(Mt. 13:55).  Moses grew up in a palace(Ex. 2:10).  Jesus grew up in a carpenter’s home(Mt. 13:55).  Moses’ birth was not celebrated(Ex. 2:2).  Jesus’ birth was celebrated by angels and wise men(Lk. 28-21).  Moses committed murder(Ex. 2:12).  Jesus did not sin…ever(1 Pt. 2:22).  Moses never saw God’s face(Ex. 33:20).  Jesus has seen the face of God(Jn. 1:1).  Moses saved his people for a brief moment in time(Ex. 14:27).  Jesus saved his people for all eternity(Jn. 14:6).  Moses’ miracles came from God(Ex. 14:30).  Jesus’ miracles came from himself(Lk. 9:1).  Moses died a peaceful death(Dt. 43:7).  Jesus died an agonizing death(Mk. 15:34).  Moses is still dead(Dt.43:8).  Jesus is alive(Mk. 16:6).

Moses is certainly a hero in the Bible; an example to be followed concerning his intimacy with God.  In Hebrews 11, when the author begins to list the “heroes of the faith” Moses receives recognition in verses 23-29, which is more than any of the others that are listed.  He made the stone tablets that God penned the Law on (twice; Ex. 34).  He was certainly a godly man.

But Jesus was the GodMan.  Jesus had no limitations.  There are usually two times of the year that get me really thinking about the life of Jesus.  Christmas and Easter.  I’m sure you’re saying, “Duh!  That’s why they are holidays!”  But I mean that I really think about the everyday life of Jesus.  Not just the stories that are in the Bible.  Not just the fact that he was laid in a manger, but how Mary and Joseph felt about this.  Were they sad because they knew Jesus deserved better?  Were they angry at God for making the delivery happen when they had no place but a barn to go to?  Were they overwhelmed with joy at just the thought of looking upon the face of the Messiah?

At Easter I consider not only the Passion week, but I ask myself, how often did Jesus really think about the day of his death?  Did he also think often of the day of his resurrection?  What was his favorite earthly meal?  What did his laugh sound like?  Was it one of those annoying laughs, or one that makes others around him begin to laugh as well?

To me, the life of Jesus is far more interesting than the life of Moses.  Yes, he was the Savior of the world, but there is so much more intrigue that surrounds Jesus.  We can talk about Moses openly with most people without any offensiveness being exchanged, but just the name of Jesus can stir up a crowd.  The teachings of Moses are widely accepted as “normal.”  Most would say that murder, stealing, lying, adultery, and greed are wrong.  And that taking a day of rest, honoring your parents, and even refraining from taking God’s name in vain are all good ideas.  But Jesus’ teachings go far more than our earthly life.  Jesus being the only way to heaven, eternal life being simply given not earned, humility equaling exaltation, and a love for all people no matter what, are a bit harder of a pill for the majority to swallow.

Jesus did not change a people group, he changed all people, forever.  His birth was just the beginning of an incredible life.  I can hardly imagine that Joseph and Mary completely knew what was to come.  To imagine a small child in a feeding trough saving the world through giving his own life, then raising again to show himself victorious over sin, would be difficult.  Jesus…think about his life.  Read the Gospels and consider his daily life as well as the “exciting” things of the Bible.  Moses is good…but he’s no Jesus.

So why this discussion between Jesus and Moses?  I don’t know.  It was just something that was running through my head…thought I would share.

In Christ’s Love,

Josh

LinusWell, it is about Christmas time and everyone is in full cheer! (Even though it is just now December 1)  All of the Christmas specials are beginning to come on including a seemingly infinite number of Hallmark Christmas movies that I am sure to steer clear of.  There are a few movies that I look forward to every year including the 3 Santa Clause movies starring Tim Allen, Jingle All the Way, A Christmas Story, and  A Charlie Brown Christmas.

The real reason I like the Charlie Brown movie is because of its quoting scripture (Luke 2:8-14).  I enjoy the part of the movie where all the lights are down and the spotlight is on Linus and he begins to explain the real meaning of Christmas.  It is a time where Scripture is read aloud and thousands are hearing it.

Another scripture that is often quoted during this time is Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  

It is a great verse that has a sense of rhythm that is both soothing, powerful, and highly theological.  But a question must be asked.  One must note the beginning of the verse and that the word “For” begins this well-known section.

What’s the “For” for?

The four verses that lead up to this “For,” are powerful as well and are the reason that we can rejoice in this child being born.  Verse 2-4 answer the “So What?” question that people may ask.  They say:

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.  You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.  For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.  Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.”

Why is Christmas such a big deal?  Why is a single child’s birth celebrated across so many different cultures and regions?  Because things are different because of this child.

Because of this child, “on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”  Where there was no hope, there is now joy and excitement.  When all seemed dark and without good, a light has shown.  It pierces the darkness.  It calls to everyone of us.  1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.”  Not only are we in the darkness and called out, but we are the darkness.  We must run toward the light so that we will be children of light. Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light.”  This is where the Wonderful Counselor comes into play.  That he can counsel us out of the darkness into something that we have never known before.  We live in the light, surrounded by the light, and engulfed in the light because of this child.

Because of this child, “You have…increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest.”  No longer does there have to be sadness, depression, or loneliness.  There is one that can and should be celebrated.  Jesus said in John 16:24 “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Also, John 15:11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”  Our joy is only complete in Jesus.  This is where Mighty God comes into play, in that he is mighty enough to provide for us a complete joy.  We would not know true joy unless this child were born.  Therefore we rejoice in our complete joy because of this child.

Because of this child, “you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.”  That which held us back, sin, is now broken.  The chains are gone.  The yoke is no longer heavy.  Matthew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”  We are free.  We could not escape the rod of sin but now it is broken.  Romans 6:18 “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness.”  This is where the Everlasting Father comes in.  We have been set free from that which binds our eternal life.  Only the Eternal Father can free his children.  We are no longer bound by the evil in this world, but can rejoice and celebrate our freedom because of this child.

Because of this child, ” Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.”  The war is over!  The battle has been won between that which is good and that which is evil.  After Satan is released from his prison and goes about the world gathering others for battle, it says in Revelation 20:9-10 “But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”   We know the end of history.  We are more than victors.  We are more than conquerors.  Romans 8:37 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  Finally, this is where the Prince of Peace shines brightest.  It is only through Jesus that there will be full peace in this world.  It is not because of us or our own power that we are light, that our joy is complete, that we are free, or that the battle is over…it is because of this child.

It is this child that will later sacrifice himself for all mankind.  Isaiah 9:6 is a powerful verse, but when read with the previous verses, its power is magnified.  We can see that this child was born for all mankind and for you and me personally.  I will conclude with simply putting all of these verses from Isaiah chapter 9 verses 2 through 6 together and include verse 7.

Isaiah 9:2-7

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.  You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.  For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.  Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

In Christ’s Love,

Josh