Battling a Weary Heart – February 26, 2021

A byproduct of all that has taken place over the last year is an epidemic of depression. God designed man to be a relational being. As those relationships have been closed off and strained, man’s already fragile state of mind has been affected. Political, social, and financial unrest have compounded the stress and pressure on many. Others experience continual familial struggles. In the end, we now live in a society which is angry, hostile, depressed, and frustrated. While these times feel unprecedented, they are not actually unique. From the time of the Fall through today, man has struggled with a weary heart.

Psalm 27 provides much needed hope and guidance in the middle of challenging days. The Psalmist declares, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident (ESV). When the world is overwhelming and we feel as though we cannot go on, we must turn our eyes to the one who provides light and a stronghold. We are reminded that though some sinfully assail us, they are the ones who will fall in the end when they stand before their Creator.

The psalmist continues with the importance of worship. He spends several verses declaring the beauty of God in the temple and the shelter of His worship. One reason that so many are struggling is that they have forsaken the church. Through the body of Christ, we are reminded that we are not alone in this struggle. We are reminded of the eternal priorities of life and the passing temporary nature of the world. And we are reminded to look to God.

The Psalmist concludes Psalm 27 with a powerful testimony, I would have despaired unless I has believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord (NASB). The hope which keeps us from despair is our living God. He will care for us. He will provide our needs. He will never leave us or forsake us. So, take courage. God is at your side. Don’t despair, look up. Don’t be marked by anger or frustration, wait on God. Spend some time today reading and meditating on Psalm 27.

Whiter than Snow – February 19, 2021

Winter has arrived. And along with it, snow has also arrived. It is no secret that I am not a huge fan of winter. However, I am always thankful for the reminder that the snow brings. I am speaking of the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 51:7, Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

This Psalm is David’s response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit after Nathan confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba. Although his sin was great, God’s mercy is greater. He committed adultery, murder, and deception. Yet, when he confessed, he had the confidence that God would forgive.

We understand today that this forgiveness is based on the blood of Christ. The Eternal Son took on human flesh and willingly went to the cross. There He offered up His own blood once for all as the perfect sacrifice for our sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 informs us that He became sin for us so that we could become righteous. As Psalmist stated, He makes us whiter than snow. He washes away our sin leaving us pure and clean before God. We stand without condemnation, completely righteous because of the blood of Christ.

So, the next time the snow falls, let it remind you of the amazing gift of salvation. Let it remind you that God became flesh and sacrificed His life so that you might be washed clean from sin and stand in purity before God. And let it remind you that when we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive it.


Whiter than Snow by James Nicholson 

Lord Jesus I long to be perfectly whole;

I want Thee forever to live in my soul.

Break down ev’ry idol, cast out ev’ry foe –

Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat;

I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet.

By faith, for my cleansing I see Thy blood flow –

Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.


What We Think About

In our Tuesday morning men’s Bible study, we just finished walking through the book of Philippians. As a result, we took a moment to look back over the lessons we learned. As we did so, I was reminded of a principle which is vital for today. Our culture is built on negativity. The news, social media, and even our everyday conversations tend to be negative and critical in nature. Depression rates have tripled over the last year.[i] Much of this is due to the fact that we are what we think about.

In Philippians 4:8, Paul reminds us to think guard what we think about: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Our lives will drastically change if we choose to dwell on things worthy of our time. We determine these things through their character. This verse challenges us to ask several questions about our thoughts.

Are they true? Is it marked by truth and dependable? We live in a culture that has downplayed truth and has elevated everyone’s own opinion. First, we must look to Scripture and determine the applicable commands and principles. Second, we should seek out the truth from those who have experience, study, and training in the area. While your Uncle Cecil certainly has an opinion on Facebook, perhaps the opinion of the expert in the field (through study and experience) should hold a little more value. Yet, even then, we don’t follow blindly. We always ask, “what is true?”

Is it honorable? Is it worthy of respect, noble and dignified? Much of what captures our attention is mental junk food. How do we know if it is honorable? 2 Corinthians 8 informs us that things find their honor in their relation to God (v. 21). Is it in line with the Word of God? Does it make God look as good as He really is? If so, think about that.

Is it just? Are you filling your mind with things that respond properly to sin? Do those things or people call it sin regardless of the political, racial, or social status of the individual? As believers we are to love biblical justice. We should treat every individual with care and treat every sin as sin. Just because someone is hypocritically pointing out that an action is sinful does not alleviate our duty to also treat it as sin.

Is it pure? Is it morally undefiled? We live in an immoral culture which praises sexual perversion. We live in an immoral culture which honors sinful actions. Are you filling your mind with things that are holy? Psalm 19:9 reminds us, The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.

Is it lovely? Is it something whose grace is attractive? When we consider loveliness, we must be sure to use God’s definition not our hypersexualized cultured definition. Beauty should be measured by things that are full of grace and make God look good. Not just outward beauty, but also inward holiness. What might this include? Things like an engine working in harmony, a symphony arranged in simple complexity, or nature in vivid beauty. Things that declare God’s glory.

Is it commendable? Is this something that we can stand before God and be proud of? Is this something we should commend to fellow believers? Or is this something that we should be ashamed of? We spend too much time with our minds in the gutter and not lifted to heaven.

Is it excellent? With so many options in this word today, why occupy our minds with things that are mediocre? God’s desire is that whatever we do, we do well. God is not a God who simply gets by. Whatever He does, He states, “It is good.” The Bible tells us whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. What God does, He does well. So, what we do we should also strive to do well. We ought to strive for excellence and think about things that are excellent.

Is it worthy of praise? One man states, “Believers must not think on what is trivial, temporal, mundane, common, and earthly, but rather on what is heavenly, and so, worthy of awe, adoration, and praise.”[ii] Our world is filled with temporal and unworthy things. We can get caught up in everyday life and the junk food for the mind. Yet, believers ought to seek to set our minds on higher things. Things that declare God’s praise.

Social media, the news media, entertainment, and even our friends drag our minds down and force us to dwell on things which are not worthy of our time. We would be in a much better spiritual state if we would learn to filter our thoughts through Philippians 4:8. I challenge you today to set down your phone and turn off the tv. Instead, pick up your Bible and read. Take a walk or a drive and look at nature. Spend time with others expressing thankfulness for them and for God. And then watch how your viewpoint changes. Don’t settle for mental junk food.

[i] accessed 2/12/2021

[ii] MacArthur, John Colossians & Philippians. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago: Moody Press, 1992. p. 290.

The Beauty of Kindness – February 5, 2021

This last week as I prepared for yet another funeral, I began to think back on those who have gone ahead of us to Heaven the last couple years. As I thought back through each individual, I was struck by a common character trait prominent in them. Each of those wonderful people was marked by incredible kindness. They loved to serve others. They were not combative. They were not selfish. They loved others. As I look at the world around me, and specifically in my generation, I wonder where this kindness has gone. To be sure, many today are incredibly kind. I am continually amazed and blessed by the kindness of many in our church body. But if we are honest, our world today is not marked by kindness.

Perhaps the pinnacle text instructing us towards kindness is Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. So many of us are marked by a critical spirit, selfishness, anger, frustration, bitterness, and arrogance. We mimic the cultural responses around us to things we don’t like and things we expect. But as I considered these dear senior saints who have recently graduated to heaven I am struck by their kindness.

Kindness only comes out when we have tender hearts. This means that we are compassionate and merciful. We have a heart towards the feelings and situations of others. We don’t immediately assign bad motives to others. We extend mercy to others. We are marked by empathy. We don’t see everyone who disagrees with us as our enemy.

This can only happen when we learn to forgive. While forgiveness does not mean forgetting, it does mean that we choose not to remember and hold it against someone. While it does not free the individual from real world consequences, it means that we seek a repaired relationship. This means we don’t seek vengeance but leave it to God. We don’t mull over the wrong against us but seek to serve others.

Forgiveness requires humility. We hold our own rights loosely. This happens when we remember our own depravity. We stand guilty before the Holy God. We deserve nothing but wrath. Yet, God because of the sacrifice of Christ has forgiven us. He grants us total and complete forgiveness. Not because we deserve it. Only because of His glorious grace.

Are you a kind person? Are you easily angered by those who disagree with you? As I have considered our members who have died and looked in the mirror, I have been convicted that I need to be marked by kindness. May God grant each of us the humility to see others as God sees them and extend kindness to all.

The Ultimate Triumph Over Evil – January 22, 2021

Revelation 5 contains an account which all Christian should know and rejoice. The past few weeks have again revealed that this world is broken. Riots, anger, injustice, and frustration have been the common fare of the day. This past week we observed another presidential inauguration. While the president called for national unity, his immediate work raised great concern for those who stand firm on revealed Scripture. We live in a broken world. Yet, this is nothing new to face believers. In the first century, Christians faced intense persecution. In AD 90, John penned the final book of Scripture. He began the book with a message from God to the churches. They were in danger of apostasy due to compromise with the world. Persecution and hardship led these churches to forsake the faith.

In chapter 4, John is given a vision of the throne room of God. This vision is filled with magnificent splendor and sovereignty. He is reminded that God still sits on his throne. As chapter 5 begins, God the Father holds a scroll. This scroll gives the bearer the right to rule and reign over creation. An angel calls out asking if any is worthy to open the scroll. But the response is absolute silence. As John observes this, he contemplates the persecution of the church, the evil of the world, the sin and brokenness all around, and the hope this scroll brings. Whoever opens it can make all things right. They can rule in justice and righteousness. However, no one steps forward. Hope seems lost. The world is doomed to depravity, injustice, and destruction. And so, John begins to weep. He weeps for his friends, he weeps for the coming generations, he weeps for humanity.

As John weeps, an angel puts a hand on his shoulders and informs him that there is no need to weep. For one has stepped forward to open the scroll. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals. (v. 5) He is worthy to rule and reign. He has the right of absolute sovereignty over the earth. And He will make all things right. This revelation causes those in the throne room to burst forth in praise:

9“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

12“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Jesus still reigns! He will make all things right. All we face today is working towards that coming age. No ruler, no judge, no person can change the reality that God still reigns, and Jesus is worthy. We remain in this day to see the Kingdom advance. We remain to invite others to join in this Kingdom. So, don’t fear. Don’t fall prey to the temptation to believe that the church wont’ survive. Don’t respond to evil with evil. Don’t be marked by frustration and anger. Rest in our sovereign God. He is worthy. The Gospel is always the answer. He will build His church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. He will always care for his people. Keep looking up!

Andrew Peterson wrote a fantastic song based on this text. Perhaps it will be uplifting to you today: Andrew Peterson – Is He Worthy? – YouTube

How Should Christians Respond to Evil? Part 2 – January 15, 2021

One need not live long before they come to the recognition that we live in a fallen world. Evil is all around us. Even as we attempt to do good and live godly lives, we can suffer as though we are evil doers. With the current events, we began last week to look at the Christian response to evil. From Habakkuk we were reminded to trust God’s faithful sovereignty in the midst of dark days. Yet, there is another important text we must consider which gives us the action steps which we must take when people commit evil against us. We find these action steps in Romans 12:14-21: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. … 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

When evil people prevail and begin to wrong us, we must respond in a distinctly Christian way. Paul informs us first that we must not curse them but rather we must bless them. This deals with the way that we speak about them. We are not to demean them or speak ill against them. Rather we are to praise them. We see also that we are not to repay their evil with evil. We cannot play the card we hear so often, “You didn’t have a problem when you did it.” Instead, we are to maintain our integrity and acta s a Christian. We are not to seek to avenge ourselves. We must leave our reputation to God. All this seems impossible.

Until we remember who God is. Paul reminds us that God is a just God who will not leave sin unpunished. This text comes on the heels of chapter 11 in which Paul reminds us that God is the sovereign God in control of all things. Therefore, we can trust him and rest in Him. Thus, Paul concludes. We don’t need to be overcome with evil. Rather, we respond with good. Keep doing right.

In our world today it can be easy to buy into the myriad of conspiracy theories and the drama of the news. It can be easy to fall prey to the sensationalism and extremism of social media. It can be easy to become bitter about the friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker, or church member who sinned against us. Our response to this evil is not bitterness, revenge, or hand wringing. Our response must be faithful obedience to God’s Word through humble service to others for the spread of the Gospel and the discipling of the saints. This is our call. Overcome evil with good.

How Should Christians Respond to Evil? – January 8, 2021

Considering current events, it is important for Christians to ask how we are to respond when we believe that evil is marching forward unchecked. For, how Christians should respond to evil and how the world and frankly many Christians today are responding to evil stand opposite to one another. As I have watched events unfold, I have thought many times, “This would be a good time for Christians to read Habakkuk.”

In chapter one, Habakkuk presents to God a complaint that we have all spoken recently. Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (vv. 1-4). We see evil reign around us. We see injustice. We see violence. We see contention. We see laws fail to work. We see laws we feel are wrong enacted. Justice seems perverted. We cry out, “Where are you God?”

Through the end of chapters one and two, God and Habakkuk engage in an interesting back and forth. God begins by informing Habakkuk that he has not lost control and that evil will not go unchecked. Instead, God would send the Babylonians to take Judah into captivity. Understandably, Habakkuk is appalled. How can God use the evil Babylonians to take God’s people into captivity? This seems even more unjust. God’s response is that He would also deal with the Babylonians in His good sovereign time. God does not overlook evil. He can deal with it better than any man.

This back and forth concludes with the most important sections for Christians today. In Habakkuk 2:20 God declares, But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. God still reigns. He has not left his throne. Even when evil rules and justice seems perverted, God’s sovereign plan marches forward unscathed. Rather than question God, we ought to trust God. Christian, trust God not man!

Habakkuk then demonstrates the Christians response. I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. 17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (3:16-19). Habakkuk’s circumstances had not changed for the better in any human mind. Yet, Habakkuk recognized God’s faithful plan. Therefore, he could rest and rejoice in God. Though evil may come, though persecution may result, Christian, rejoice in God!

Christian, we are not called to respond to injustice and evil with anger and vengeance. We are not called to riot and revolt. We are called to rejoice in God. Sadly, many Christians today are responding with anger, despair, fear, and frustration. This happens because we have taken our eyes off the throne of God. God is in control. We are called to obedience.

So, we don’t respond to evil with evil. Rather we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:14-13:7). Good does not look like anger and vengeance. Good does not look like complaints of injustice. Good does not look like protests and riots. Good means sacrificially serving those around us. We trust God even when we believe that evil is reigning. God sovereignly places rulers in power (Daniel 2:21). Therefore, we need not fear or fight. We can submit and trust. We don’t place our hope in politics or personalities. We don’t place our hope in demonstrations or riots. We place our hope in the reality of God’s Kingdom. He is our stability. We remember that God’s Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We serve that kingdom first. We are citizens of that Kingdom above all. This means that we approach the evil and the politics of this world differently. This means that every argument we make is bolstered by Scripture used in its context. This means that we are not tossed about with every change in the world, but we are anchored steadfast to the unchangeable reality of God’s eternal Kingdom.

Let me challenge you to be different in these sad days. Instead of responding with anger or despair (in your heart, in your conversations, or on social media), respond with patient hope and trust. Fill every argument with Scripture used in its context. Turn off the news and open God’s Word. Get off social media and share the Gospel. Live a life which honors God. Rejoice in the Lord!

Should I Get the COVID Vaccination? – January 1, 2021

Over the past few weeks, I have been asked several times about the COVID vaccination. As a Christian, should I get it? Let me state the obvious at the outset, I am not a medical doctor or an epidemiologist. As I have answered this question, I have sought to do so as a pastor, not a doctor. This means that I will not pretend to know things that I don’t have the qualifications or knowledge to answer. My goal is simply to give Biblical principles to help us answer this question in a biblical way as we sort through all the information. As we consider vaccinations in general, and the COVID vaccination specifically, there are several important Biblical principles which ought to guide our decision making.

The first principle comes from the creation mandate. At creation, God placed man as the overseer of creation. He gave man the mandate to practice dominion over creation. Genesis 1:28-30 – And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. The idea of dominion means to bring into subjection. After the fall, this mandate necessitated the idea of battling against disease, illness, and viruses. Biblical Christians hold the concept of medical health in high regard. This is why throughout history, everywhere Christianity advanced, you also saw hospitals and doctor’s offices follow. Vaccinations serve to help that dominion mandate. As we consider COVID, we ought to pray for medical advances that will help us overcome the virus. It is possible that these vaccinations do just that.

We must also consider the principle of life. Biblical Christians support life from conception until death. This is important as we consider vaccinations. What methods were used to develop this vaccination? Some methods involve embryonic stem cells harvested from aborted babies. As Christians, we must decry this method as not only unethical, but sinful. As far as my research has discovered, this method was not used in any of the COVID vaccines. But what if we discover it was? How far does the transmission of guilt extend? Am I guilty of supporting the abortion industry by receiving a vaccination developed with these methods? This leads us to another important principle.

We must consider the principle of conscience. Romans 14 informs us that whatever is not of faith is sin. If I believe that by receiving a vaccination developed through sinful methods is sin, then for me, it is sin. However, because this is indeed a gray area, we ought to be careful about judging the spirituality of those who disagree with us. Be sensitive to and do not violate your conscience.

We must also consider the principle of expediency. Just because we can does not always mean that we should. Neither does it mean that we should not. It is not wrong to question the safety of a vaccination which has been developed so quickly. You must ask if this is the best course of action? Are you prone to allergic reactions to the vaccination? Are you at risk for the side effects of the vaccination?

This leads to what I call the principle of expertise, or the principle of wisdom. In today’s culture, everyone’s opinion is valued the same as everyone else’s. Let me be blunt, this is foolishness. God has gifted different people in different areas. Through the gifts of their intellect, God sovereignly directed individuals to learn and grow in specific areas. We ought to value those individual’s opinions in those areas above the opinion of the novice. With the COVID vaccination, this means that I value the opinion of my doctor above the opinion of my Facebook friend. Do your research, listen to experts, ignore your social media.

Finally, we must consider the principle of love. There are two important aspects to this principle. First, we must consider those around us. How will my failure to get vaccinated impact those around me? Am I around those who are at great risk of the virus? Will my failure to get vaccinated signal a lack of love to those around me? Second, we must consider how we interact with our fellow believers. Romans 14 informs us that God is the judge. If someone insists on vaccination, then I must show love to them and not condemn them. If someone insists on not getting vaccinated, then I must show love to them and not condemn them.

From a Christian perspective, should I get vaccinated? I believe that the answer is “maybe.” We certainly ought to support the objective of the vaccination: dominion over creation through medical intervention. We should investigate the expediency and safety of the vaccination. We should do so in the proper places (NOT Facebook). We should consider our conscience in the issue. We should consider the impacts of our decision on those around us. And we should seek how to best love one another. Above all, we should treat one another with love and respect and brothers and sisters in Christ. Personally, I don’t know what I will do when the vaccination becomes available to me. These are the principles I am working through and praying through as I consider it.

For a better written Christian perspective, I would recommend the following article. Although he comes to a slightly different conclusion, I appreciate his Biblical methodology and perspective. Vaccines and the Christian Worldview: Principles for Christian Thinking in the Context of COVID –

Our Redemptive God – December 25, 2020

Christmas is about redemption. Peter informs us, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus himself stated, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). Jesus did not come as our example or as a good teacher. He came to save the world. As we gather this morning and exchange gifts, we must remember the most important gift of all: the gift of eternal life.

Our God is a God of redemption. Mankind willingly rebelled against him. Yet, instead of destroying us in wrath, “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So, you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:4-7).

That baby we think about in the manger came for the specific purpose to die for your sin. This was the angelic message to Joseph. The angel commanded Joseph, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). This was no ordinary baby. This was the pinnacle of history. This was the fulfillment of prophecy. This was the answer to sin. This was the promised seed of Genesis 3. This was our redemption.

A look at the false gods throughout history revealed them to be angry and vindictive. But that is not our God. He is redemptive. The false gods demand that we sacrifice our children for them. But our God sacrificed His Son for us. False gods require penance and suffering for acceptance. Our God took our suffering on Himself and requires only faith from us for acceptance. Our God is a redemptive God.

Many families follow fun Christmas traditions: The elf on the shelf, Santa Clause, Christmas Lights, etc. Christian families should follow another greater tradition: taking time throughout the Christmas season to remind us of the redemption that Christmas represents. My own family does this through an advent tree which involves a different Scripture reading every day through December leading up to Christmas Day. This is one of the most important Christmas traditions in my family. It reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas: our redemptive God.

Our Incarnate God – December 18, 2020

At Christmas we celebrate the amazing reality of our Incarnate Christ. Incarnate means that God took on human flesh. He became a human. John 1:17 informs us that the Word took on flesh and dwelt among us. An early heresy stated that God did not actually take on human form. He just appeared to have a human form. However, Peter states that their hands touched him. Jesus was actually born, actually lived, actually died, and actually rose again. God took on a human body.

In order to understand this, we must recognize several important aspects. We must recognize God as our creator. God specially formed the first humans and tasked them with dominion over the creation. However, they rebelled against God their creator. All humans since have also rebelled against God their creator (including you and me). But God did not respond how one would think he would. Instead, He became his creation. Over 2000 years ago, God took on human flesh. He did this so that he could die in our place, take our punishment for this rebellion on himself, and justify mankind. Through this sacrifice, we have a restored relationship with God.

When we recognize our rebellion against God and accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us, we are made a part of the family of God. Because Jesus was born as a man, we can be born again into the spiritual family of God. This was the message of the angels on that first Christmas night. Salvation had come into the world through the incarnation of God. At Christmas we celebrate our incarnate God.

This means that Christmas is so much more than happy feelings, presents, and family time. This means that Christmas is about the sacrificial gift of God. God gave us the ultimate gift: His own Son for our souls. Next week, as you give and receive the Christmas gifts, recognize what those gifts picture. The ultimate gift of God for you. Take a moment (actually take many moments) and thank God for that amazing gift. Take the opportunity to share this gift with someone who needs to hear the Gospel.