In today's fast moving culture many people don't take the time to stop and think about what is going on around them, most don't even think about what they are about to do before they do it. In contrast I believe that we should take every thought captive and meditate on why we do what we do before we do it. Without a valid reason actions are a pointless waste of time and since time is one of the most valuable things we have I believe that we should take some time to think about Life because it is important.
So here are my "Thoughts on Life".

The Immensity of the Fathers Gift

The other day I was listening to the radio as the host was introducing the song Joseph's Lullaby (by MercyMe) and he said something that really got me thinking, he said that sometimes as a child Jesus probably called Joseph 'daddy'. Now the Bible doesn't say whether or not that happened, but it seems to me that it is very probable that it did happen. I mean that is the natural tendency of a child to call their father (whether their real father or adopted father) 'daddy' and Jesus was fully man, born just like you and me. So I was listening to the radio host and getting ready to listen to Joseph's Lullaby, which is one of my absolute favorite 'christmas' songs, and I started thinking, how much God sacrificed to allow His only Son to call another 'daddy'. I continued to think about this all throughout the song and for the next few days.

Now I don't for a moment pretend that I understand all that is involved in being a father, nor do I completely comprehend all of the emotions that are there, but as I have matured and grown I have come to better understand how my father feels about me, and through that understanding I can begin to understand how he feels. I know that if I were to call someone else (aside from God) my father it would break his heart. So how much more must it have broken God the Father's heart to hear His Son call another father. Out of all the names of God, I think that of Father is one of His dearest. The Bible tells us in countless places how much God cares for children (Luke 16:18), and how He desires the orphaned cared for (James 1:27), and how He is the father to the fatherless (Psalms 68:5). All of these things say to me how much God desires to be called Father, and how good of a father He is. Numerous places in the Bible (Exodus. 20:5 and Deuteronomy 5:9 to name two) it says that our God is a jealous God and He does not suffer another to take His glory, but He allowed Joseph to be Jesus' earthly father, to me that says a lot about the immensity of the gift that God made in sending His only Son.

Now as Jesus grew He came to understand that God was His Father and called Him such, just as I as a christian have come to understand that God is my heavenly Father and call Him father. But as He was growing it is quite possible that Jesus didn't fully understand that He was God's only begotten Son. The Bible says that Jesus was completely human and yet also God the Son, so as a toddler and young boy it is quite possible that He didn't really understand who He was. He probably loved to sit in His daddy's shop and watch him work. He probably enjoyed going fishing and playing with his dad. I sometimes wonder if Joseph ever thought about the honor that he had been given. Did he ever think about the fact that the little boy who was calling him father was really the Son of the Lord God Almighty? I think that he probably did, I think that as he watched little Jesus grow and thought about His future he was reminded that great things were in store for this boy who was "God with us". And while he held Jesus tight and loved Him as his own he was reminded that God had entrusted His only Son to him to raise and to love, and thinking this I imagine he took great joy. (Just as a side note, I believe that every child is a gift from God entrusted to the parents to care for and love as God loves them, and children should bring great joy to their parents as they are reminded that God has entrusted them with the job of loving His children as He loves them.)

All of this is yet another example of how great is the love of the Father towards us, and how great is the sacrifice He made to call us His own. This is just another reason why I am eternally grateful for what Jesus did for me on the cross, and what God did for me in allowing His Son to come and give Himself for me.
"But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, He entrusted His only Son Jesus Christ to another to raise and to love, and watched Jesus call another 'father' and die for our sins" (Romans 5:8 Paraphrased and Expanded)

Why I Celebrate Christmas

With the coming of the christmas season I have been contemplating why I celebrate Christmas. I mean it is so easy to get caught up in all the songs, the decorations, and all the gifts and traditions that sometimes I forget what Christmas is all about and why I am celebrating it. I encourage you to take some time in this busy season of the year and think about why you celebrate Christmas. Whether you share your reasons or keep them to yourself taking the time to think it through and organize your thoughts will be well worth your time.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about why I celebrate Christmas is the reason that most christians probably think of first, the birth of Jesus. Now whether or not he was actually born on December 25th is irrelevant, to me it is the celebration of His birth, not the exact day. One of the reasons that I celebrate Jesus' birth is because it is one of the most improbable, impossible, unimaginable things that could ever happen in the eyes of the world. Who would believe that a God who has all power and all authority would humble Himself to become like one of His own creations? Who would ever consider that He would be born in the simplest of abodes and have a feeding trough as a bed? Yet Jesus did all of this for us. In one birth hundreds of years of prophecy's were fulfilled, the Savior of the world was born against all the odds. So I celebrate Christmas because of Jesus' birth and all that it means.

When I continue to think about Christmas one obvious thing that comes to mind is the one thing that every little boy or girl thinks of, gifts. Who doesn't like to receive gifts? But why do we give gifts at Christmas? I can think of a couple of reasons. First, as a reminder of the gifts given to Jesus by the magi, gifts that foreshadowed what was to come, and provided for what was at hand. I also think of a gift given on the night Jesus was born, a gift that saw it's fulfillment years later as He hung on that cross with the sins of the world on His shoulders. A gift that I cannot comprehend or understand, but a gift that I have accepted, the gift of God's only son to die for my sins. A gift of grace and mercy and a gift of love. Many people think of Valentines as the holiday of love but I have to disagree. Christmas is a holiday and a celebration of love. God's love for His people. When I think about gifts at Christmas I think about the reason that we give gifts, or at least the reason that we should give gifts. As an expression of our love for one another, to bless one another and to show the true reason for Christmas, Jesus. There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "All About Love" and the title is so very true, as a Christian everything that I do should all be about love. God's love for me, my love for God and my love for my fellow man. If you think about it Christmas, and Christ's birth, isn't about the birth but about the gift. The gift of God's love and forgiveness.

So as I move into this season of gifts and Christmas music, decorations and warm fires, my goal is to remember what Christmas is all about and share the love of God with others around me. Through the carols that I sing and the gifts that I give I seek to give God glory. And like the star in the dark night sky so long ago, I hope to point people toward Jesus, who came to earth as a baby, and gave the greatest gift of love anyone has ever given.