- Excerpt: As you know, each year millions of people make new year resolutions with probably as many seeing them broken within the first few weeks; for unless we are willing to change our old habits then how can we expect real change?
HOW TO HAVE THE BEST CHRISTMAS AND THEN THE BEST NEW YEAR IN 2018.
By Chris Briscoe
Posted 18th December, 2017.
According to the Christmas message, the Sovereign King of kings was born and placed into a cow’s feeding trough (which was, no doubt, covered in saliva, since those foul animals probably weren’t told about their special Guest’s arrival, and hadn’t the time or the brains to give him a fresh Manger).
If the King of kings entered this world onto a salivatised (if some of you don’t know,that means covered with saliva) cow’s feeding trough, how much more is he willing to enter your life, if you invite him?
Did you know that you can enjoy the real Christmas Spirit everyday of your life, which no one and nothing can take away?
Just think, if the Christmas message is true, and God’s Son left his throne in glory and came to a cow’s feeding trough, how much more willing is he to enter your life and enrich you with stuff you only dreamed about in your wildest dreams?
For the Christmas good news is that if on Christmas Day, God’s own Son condescended the heavens, left his Glory and came to this earth – to a cold and small barn and laid in a cow’s feeding-trough – how much more will he condescend into your heart and live there to drive out all the negatives from your life?
For if he is God’s Son, then he is well capable of doing that as he has infinite power. But as a God of love, he has chosen to limit that power and only come and live in your life and emotions when you invite him.
So the next thing to ask you is, have you actually invited Jesus or God into your life? Maybe you haven’t but please at least try out what happens if you actually have the sincerity and audacity to experience him for yourself – for I believe you will be pleasantly surprised. For God will always visit any sincere heart which invites him,no matter how small your faith.
Just pray the following prayer:
If he was willing to leave his gold and diamond spangled throne among the angels, and condescend to be born and live among cow’s and animals, how much more is he willing to enter your heart, when you open up your heart and life to him?; by just one simple prayer, invite him today by saying,
“God, I heard you love me more than anyone and that you are more powerful than anyone, therefore show me this love by entering my heart by your Holy Spirit and reach down and heal my life, and show me who you are, and who I am, and what I could transpire to become by your greatest power and miracle!” Amen
For this is the reason why Jesus, the exact “chip off the old block”, came to this earth. And until you pray such a prayer with sincerity and an atom of faith-risk, you cannot understand just who or where God lives; only then will you know God lives in men’s heart to banish all fear and energize them, and glorify them with the greatest grace, peace, joy and comfort; to come and enlighten every cold and anxious heart and lighten it with the greatest peace and rest, forever. To free it from its longings and chains, and instead place within each, the greatest Anchor for our souls.
And unless you actually experience Christ in your emotions, you will never know that his Holy Spirit is the only power and religion which can reach your deepest pain and hurt, and bring the greatest healing and comfort.
I have two or more questions for you? Have you ever tried out Jesus Christ, have you asked him to come unto your life and show you who he is? What does Christmas mean to you? Maybe, another way of saying that is to ask you, what does God mean to you? And Jesus – who supposedly visited this earth like an alien from another civilization – does his life and death mean anything to you, or do you just acknowledge him every Christmas like receiving a visiting dignitary from a far away Kingdom for a few days over the Christmas period? (as C.S. Lewis alluded to in his writings).
I mean, does his love that he supposedly died for you and me actually penetrate the problems and the pain of your life, or does God and Christmas mean little apart from the festivities, the unopened presents, the delicious food?
And have you actually tested the claims of Jesus who, when interrogated by the Chief Priests of Israel and teachers of the Jewish Law, acknowledged that he is the Son of a God? (Luke 22:67-70); well, if he’s the Son of God, it means that he has the power to come into your heart, and reveal to you who he is. He apparently rose from the dead after he died and the Bible says over five hundred people saw him. So that means, he still has the power to come into your heart and emotions if you ask him; and the same Spirit that raised him from the dead, is able to penetrate your emotions and deepest pain, to give you eternal healing and peace.
But this man, Jesus, is a gentleman and will not come into your heart unless you invite him. So before we discount the Christmas message as just part of another religion, or before we just let Christmas go by as just another happy holiday, let’s at least taste and see whether Jesus is really good and God, and whether he will turn our lives and the lives of others around us into a life of the most adventurous life of faith.
As the Bible says in Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in
In the Bible, Jesus Christ, himself gives this personal invitation to anyone, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) As I said, he is a Gentleman, and before he shows himself to you, you must invite him, and taste his amazing goodness for yourself.
This is my challenge to you: if you have never tested the claims of Jesus and Christianity. To invite him into your heart; the key to opening that door is the key of faith which is in your hand. If you think you don’t have that key, then ask God to give you the gift of faith. The Bible says in regard to that faith, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by working your salvation yourself but rather it is by faith, so that no one can say they did it by their good works.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Grace means God’s unmerited gift to you which you just receive by faith. And faith means believing in something you do not see, plain old “trust.”
For some of us, even though your days are often filled with humdrum and you expect your Christmas to hardly break the monotony of life, well, I am here to show you the way how to lay hold of God; not the God of religion that you may think exemplifies Christianity and Christmas, no I am talking about the Christmas when, in the so called Nativity scene, the baby Jesus was born in a barn and placed in a manger; and that God-child who is so willing to condescend enough to a feeding-trough and make it his temporary throne, he is more than willing to live in your heart and enthrone it with his majestic peace and joy, forever.
The good news is, if God loved you enough to send his Son to be united with a woman, and be born in a stable, how much more will he send the Spirit and love of his Son into your heart, if you ask him to, this Christmas time, or any day.
If you actually invite him into your heart, then this Christmas can be your greatest and most meaningful Christmas because you will blow away all the cobwebs of life and blow away your preconceived expectations of what this Christmas should be, and instead experience the true joy and peace of Christmas.
And unless you open up your heart and experience this true Christmas peace and joy in your heart, you will never know who God is, and why God graced this world with Jesus Christ: to show you this life.
Just think, unless you try this Christianity for yourself, you will never know. Just think about the huge and unlimited losses you could sustain if this Christianity was true but you didn’t try it for yourself. After all, what have you got to lose, if this Christianity turns out to be false? Only something of your pride and temporary time in placing your resources in something false. But look at the eternal riches you would have gained, if it turns out to be true.
In this world full of so many darkened minds looking for love and affirmation, let’s encourage one another to search for the greatest love who the Bible describes with these words: “God is love.” (1 John 4:16c) So that all our hearts can be warmed and healed by the only power strong enough to reach our deepest needs – the power of God’s love.
BUT HOW CAN I BELIEVE?
Many people’s stumbling block to knowing Jesus is this: “But how can I believe in a person or a God I cannot see?” Well, God has chosen to communicate to us through the medium of faith. It means, he rewards you if you trust him. Like a friend who decides to enjoy friendship with you if he sees you opening his heart and trusting you, God will miraculously show you his love and power when he sees you trusting him.
And even though we cannot see him, I can assure you from experience, that he communicates to us in a variety of other faculties that we have, like our feelings, our emotions, our mind, even through our loved ones and circumstances, also through his Word, the Bible, and through his own Medium and Enabler and Comforter, the Holy Spirit. And let me assure you that because he loves you more than anyone, he has invested the life of his Son, by dying on a cross for you, to show you that because he gave you Jesus Christ, will he not, with him, give you all good things, including the assurance in your emotions that you are loved unconditionally and unlimitedly.
BUT WHERE DOES GOD LIVE, WHAT’S HIS ADDRESS SO I CAN LOOK HIM UP?
Actually, in the Bible, God himself answers the question of where he lives. Although he lives in a high and lofty place, he has chosen to live in a heart which is truly contrite before him. And of course one of the reasons why we do not see him is because he is spirit. The good news, however, is that God has chosen to reveal himself through his Son Jesus Christ, who became a Man, when deity and humanity united in the one Man, Jesus Christ. In this Man’s life there was a time when one of his disciples, Philip, asked him, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
Even though you cannot see Jesus in the flesh, he has sent another Agency by which he reveals God’s power and love and truth to you:The Holy Spirit whom Jesus called the Comforter, but unless you invite him into your heart, you will not experience the greatest source of comfort, healing and peace; and the Holy Spirit’s only great mission in life is to reveal Jesus Christ, and thereby glorify God. And he will show you who Jesus Christ is,and what difference he can make in your life, of which the greatest is giving you assurance that when you die you will go and live eternally with God, in peace and comfort.
In Isaiah 57:15 it says: ‘For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy; “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart if the contrite.”
But what does contrite mean? It means when we humble ourselves, when we are willing to make ourselves smaller, and say to God,
“I am sorry, I do not deserve to be graced with your presence, but because your Son was willing to grace that stable, I believe you will grace my heart now that my heart is laid out bare at your cross; and I come broken and believe that because you were willing to be broken for me, in my Stead, suffer an innocent judgment and death penalty for me, that you took my place because you love me more than anyone, I know your Holy presence will grace this heart and fill it with a throbbing joy and tangible peace – the Prince of Peace.” Amen
If you are among the millions who do not believe in God – I don’t mean the other millions who refuse to believe in God, even if he were to turn up in his day and hit them over the head, but the droves who want to believe but who cannot find God, or rather those who God, in his power, has not showed himself; If you are among the millions on this planet who say they want to believe in God but cannot believe in someone who they don’t see, well the good news I have for you today, is, even though you can’t see God, you can see the next best thing, which is seeing him do miracles in your life.
And even better, is you can actually experience him because it is true that experiencing is really believing, rather than seeing is believing. All it takes from you is to show the most atomic amount of faith. Even though you may have many reservations to believing, just leave them in the hands of God, and instead say, “I believe!” Just like the Father who brought his Son to Jesus to be healed, who said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22)
Jesus replied, “‘If you can’? “Everything is possible to him who believes. The Father of the oppressed boy replied “I do believe!” and then he said, “Help me overcome my belief!” (Mark 9:24)
Then Jesus commanded that the boy be delivered from his spiritual oppression, and then he was immediately healed.(Mark 9:25-27)
This Christmas, invite him into your heart and let his love fill every corner of your heart and give you the greatest peace and joy, to make your mind and emotions realize that the true Christmas message can come alive in your heart. And even though the Christmas holiday is over, if you have Jesus in your heart, you can experience and enjoy the Christmas joy every day of your life; and also, the Bible promises that when you trust God and receive his peace, you can enter a rest – so you can enjoy a rest every day, with Jesus in your heart, giving you his peace, no matter what you are going through.
If the King of all men came to a mere feeding trough – the King of kings – if God’s own Son could leave such lofty heights of heaven and sink to the lowest depths, how much more is he willing to descend into the depths of your heart and heal your deepest wounds, wounds that no other power or so called god could come near; but God is willing and ready to descend into your deepest pain today – and if not today, very soon, if you invite him just by relinquishing the throne of your heart and life, and letting him take the throne instead.
Just as Jesus said recorded by Luke, the Physician, in Luke 9:23-25: ”If any man want to follow me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me.For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. For what good does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his very soul.”
God stepped into this dirty humanity and clothed himself with insecurity and inadequacy for you.
If Jesus burst the skies and entered God’s nature and spiritual DNA, which became intertwined with Mary’s DNA, and in so doing, God forever changed for you and decreased in his glorified state to condescend for you, how much more, with that same power is he willing to condescend into your humanity and unite himself with you, if you just let him, so that God and man would eternally be united, in love and peace.
But are you willing to hand over the reigns of your life, and let Jesus take hold of them, instead?
God who eternally changed – forever changed and humbled and lowered himself – did that for you; when Jesus entered the human half of a double-helix DNA and when Jesus came to this earth, he sacrificed something of his own God-nature so that God-nature and Man-nature were mingled together to bring the greatest miracle called the ‘incarnation”, which today can happen in your nature, when God’s Spirit can enter your heart and make the Christmas message come truly alive, when God shows up in the mess and pain of our day and heart; to heal every heart broken with hurt and fill it with a throbbing joy and peace like a river, forever!
While you are counting down to Christmas, what are you expecting to really discover about Christmas in 2016? And are you just expecting this Christmas of 2017 to be business as usual, or are you expecting the miracle that broke into the monotony of history to break into the monotony of your day, of your season and fill it with the greatest light, for everyday of 2018?
Do you remember those shepherds who were out in the field that day when as they were doing their business in the monotony of their day, suddenly above them in the sky a company of angels broke the silence and darkness of the night with a message of joy? Maybe, you are like them – sitting somewhere, maybe at your work-station, school desk, computer consul, or maybe outside working digging ditches; Wherever and whatever is your business, God wants to break into the monotony and dregs of our life and perform a miracle, but it means we have to follow the example of the shepherds who, when they saw that Christmas sight and heard the message of that first Christmas approaching, they left their business and went in search of the true Jesus King of kings.
The Bible records the conversation in Luke, Chapter two:
‘So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.’ (Luke 2:4:7)
Also, those three wise men went in search of the young babe: and when they found him they worshipped him, because a miracle occurred in their hearts and they were filled with an awe-struck power that meant they finally understood who God is, the God who loves you enough to die on a cross and take our punishment so that we do not have to pay the penalty for all our mistakes but instead let him come into every willing heart.
Today, Still wise men seek out the King of kings.
As a man, if Jesus was human enough to feel the emotional pain of all that life threw in his face, yet God enough to relieve you of your pain, then invite him to do just; he was and is human enough to know all the emotions that a human can feel succumbed to, and yet, because he is God, only he knows your pain and can heal your pain; because Jesus suffered one of the greatest pain, he knows your pain, yet as God, only he knows all your pain and can heal all your pain. When you invite the Holy Spirit into your heart only he is able to penetrate your deepest emotional pain and heal all of it; only he knows what is binding us and so only his love can set us free in God’s perfect presence, and grace our heart with the greatest peace, comfort and hope of God.
So invite him to do just that and make your heart prepared to be the vessel for the greatest most perfect being. To be nothing less than the very throne of the Son of God where he takes up the throne of your heart and resides, forever, God and man, eternally living in unending peace and comfort.
This is the greatest good news and hope for you because God’s promise written for you in his Love-letter, is this: ”For God so loved you that he gave you his one and only Son that whoever believes in him, shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
God does indeed visit and abide with every heart that prepares him the throne of their heart. For in order for the King of kings to take the throne of our hearts, we first need to dethrone ourselves from that throne and relinquish our own self; we need to come to the position where we take the lower position and unseat ourselves on the throne of our hearts, and invite Jesus by the power of his Spirit to come and live in our hearts and be Lord of our everything in our lives, to allow him to be the Boss of us; to dethrone ourselves, our wives, our husband or anyone else. But this means we have to be willing to eat humble pie, or as God says in the Bible book of Psalms 51 which refers to repentance, in verse 16-17 it says,
“You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
By Chris Briscoe.