Monday, December 21, 2009

Being organised for Christmas does not guarentee a 'Happy' Christmas!

Every Christmas I find myself saying, 'next year I want to be more organised for Christmas!'

I was doing this a few days ago while meandering around the shops trying to get my head around what else I need to buy. But after a few hours of feeling frustrated and despondent over everything 'commercially' Christmas, I came to the realisation that even if I was more organised, that doesn't guarantee a 'happy' Christmas.

I have thought a lot about being organised for Christmas this year, but honestly, Christmas hasn't been a priority, there are always more things that are more important to do or be involved in than being 'super organised' for Christmas.

I had to remind myself of that, and hand all my worries, needs, frustrations to God and simply trust Him to lead me, to grant me the peace and joy that only comes from resting and waiting on Him!

I long for a 'Happy' Christmas, that happiness can only come from God, from trusting in Him fully, and by spending time reflecting upon the amazing birth of the King of Kings.

He knows my needs, my desires and ultimately what is best for me and everyone else around me this Christmas.

So often when I am super organised for things I find that I can shut God out and take control of things the way I think they should go. I so easily forget that He wants me to come to His throne of grace, to ask Him for what I need....

I also easily forget that He has never failed me, and His ways are always good.

This morning I was humbled and overwhelmed at the birth of Jesus after I read this in the book I am reading, God in the Manger by John MacArthur.

When Christ entered the world, He came to a place that had some of the smelliest, filthiest, and most uncomfortable conditions. But that is part of the wonder of divine grace, isn't it? When the Son of God came down from heaven, He came all the way down. he did not hang on to His equality with God; rather, He set it aside for a time and completely humbled Himself (Phil 2:5-8).

Jesus did not merely humble Himself and agree to be born in a smelly stable, but He humbled Himself as a substitute for wretched sinners and bore the stench of their guilt in His own body on the Cross. He came down to the common people to bring them His glorious salvation. The picture of the infant Son of God tolerating a stables' dirt and foul odors is a fitting metaphor for the later scene of the Saviours bearing the stench of sin as He died at Calvary. What an amazing picture!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's the grace of God that teaches us..

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
Titus 2:11-12

I have been reading through Jerry Bridges, Discipline of Grace - God's role and our role in the pursuit of holiness, and these verses were at the start of chapter 5 entitled, Disciplined by grace. I read this chapter the other day, after a rather frantic and stressful week, and these verses have been plaguing my mind ever since!

I am coming to realise so very slowly, that my only hope in this life is the hope I have in the gospel of Jesus Christ! He is my only hope. It doesn't matter if I am having a good day, or a bad day, if my hope, my purpose, my understanding of all that happens in this life is not based on the gospel of Christ, everything can so easily fall apart and seem all so hopeless!

This past week I have been confronted so many times with my sinfulness, and I have easily become caught up in the trap of guilt and hardness of heart, but this chapter helped to release me somewhat, and remind me once again of where I need to fix my mind, my heart, my hope!

This chapter, and the above mentioned verses in particular reminded me that it is the grace of God that teaches me to life a life that glorifies God, the same grace that brought me salvation. And its only when I stop to consider this saving grace do I have the ability to say "no" to ungodliness, and yes to self control and godly living.

Bridges writes,

Paul said, though, that it is the very same grace - God's unmerited favor - that brought salvation to us in the first place that disciplines us. This means that all our response to God's dealings with us and all our practice of the spiritual disciplines must be based on the knowledge that God is dealing with us in grace. And it means that all our effort to teach godly living and spiritual maturity to others must be grounded in grace. If we fail to teach that discipline is by grace, people will assume, as I did, that it is by performance.

That is why we must not put the gospel on the shelf once a person becomes a new believer. he or she will have just as difficult a time believing that God saves by grace instead of by works. ...

He closes the chapter with this reminder.

Remember, the grace that brought salvation to you is the same grace that teaches you. But you must respond on the basis of grace, not law. That is why you must "preach the gospel to yourself every day."

So once again I have been challenged about my need to preach the gospel to myself everyday...I am so thankful that He is my only hope!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas is all about worship

Lately I have been listening a lot to Chris Tomlin's new Christmas CD, Glory in the Highest - Christmas Songs of Worship. The CD is definitely all about worship! The way he sings the carols, and other songs he has written all draw me into a heart of worship.

My favourite so far is My soul magnifies the Lord. I just love the way he has Incorporated Mary's song of praise to the Lord when she visited Elizabeth. Luke 1:46-47 says,

And Mary said:
My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour....
When Mary was told about the baby she was to give birth to she worshipped God. When the shepherds were told of the birth of Jesus, they came to worship Him. When the Kings saw the star they followed it to worship Him.

This is what Chris writes about the cd,

This is a record that is a long time coming for me. I love how this music and season breaks all the walls down. Rather than just listen to a performance of songs, I hope that this recording quickly invites you to join inthe wordshp of the Savior of the world.

Jesus is the only One who has ever chosen to be born. All glory and honour to Him, for He has come to bring us peace.

The great announcement from the Heavenly host has been made, 'Glory to God in the highest!'

Christmas is all about worship, to God who came to dwell with us, and die for us. There is just so much to worship Him for. I just love the opportunity Christmas gives us to worship Him.

I saw a blow up nativity scene today in Cheap as Chips, something I was surprised to see amongst the santas, trees and reindeer's, but my heart rejoiced to see the glorious scene of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, animals gathered around a manger, worshipping the King!

I pray that you will have many opportunities to worship the King this Christmas time, and every day of the year!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Homemade Christmas gift ideas

This Saturday I have set aside the whole day to help our kids make Christmas cards and gifts for their friends and teachers. I can't believe there is only less than 2 weeks left of school!

I haven't completely decided what they will be making, but I came across a few good ideas for gifts for teachers and lots of other inspiring ideas for
friends and family.