Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas!

"The Holy Night" by Carlo Maratti (c. 1650, courtesy Web Gallery of Art)

Christmas is arguably the most important event in human history (after Creation, of course), because it celebrates the moment that God the Father entered the world as a little baby, Jesus the Son, God incarnate. I know that there are many who refuse to believe this fact, and there are many more who allow other aspects of the holiday (such as decorating, giving and receiving presents, taking vacations, etc...) to cloud the real "reason for the season."

But that's okay. After all, I think that's one reason this blog exists: to help remind the world that Jesus is THE Way, the ONLY Way, in fact, to be reconciled unto God. So, toward that end, I am rededicating this blog to the One whose virgin birth we celebrate this week (and always).

So what does this mean? I am beginning a long-running series on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, mostly based on Biblical references, but augmented with other historical and contemporary sources. I have already compiled a list of more than 40 topics, which I plan to revisit periodically. Eventually, I will create a new website, independent of Blogger, where all of these posts will permanently reside.

I will continue to post occasionally to my other blogs (see side panel), while most personal updates will be relegated to Facebook.

May your Christmas be joyous, and may you live every day with the love of Jesus Christ in your heart!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Running to Win!

This Garfield comic strip printed in the late 2000's and inspired the original idea for this post, nearly a decade ago.

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible" (1 Cor. 9:24-25).

Natural man tends to get lazy about spiritual things, and even seasoned Christians can become complacent and content in their walk with the Lord. But the Apostle Paul, in warning the young Corinthian church to remain steadfast in their faith, likens their relationship with the Lord not to a leisurely walk, but a competitive race. And as motivation, he presents them with the prospect of inheriting the "incorruptible crown", which is their eternal inheritance, should they persevere unto the end.

Not to be confused with a non-Biblical "salvation-by-works gospel' (see Paul's letter to the Galatians, for clarification), Paul nevertheless understands that a spiritually healthy and mature Christian is one who actively pursues Christ and the "mastery" of all things related to Him (faith, obedience, His Word, witnessing, etc....). Salvation is so much more than just having a day when you decided to repent of your sins and follow Jesus; He desires to have a relationship with you, much like a husband and wife. And that takes work..., but it is so very worth it!

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it" (Matt. 13:44-46).

By the way, in the strip, Garfield sarcastically questions whether there is sufficient motivation for him to join Jon in such a torturous activity. But that's a question Peter has already answered, in 1 Pet. 5:8: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."