A MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS
If we want a truly meaningful Christmas this year, we need to understand the true meaning of Christmas. I believe that starts with understanding the person of Christmas, Jesus Christ.
For over 2,000 years debate has been raging about who Jesus really is. There have been many and varied explanations. Some say, He is one of many gods, others a created being, a high angel, a good teacher, a prophet and so on. The common thread of all such explanations is that they make Jesus less than God.
But the biblical evidence is overwhelming that this child in the manger that we read about in the gospels was the incarnation of God. The Apostle Paul writing to the Colossians captures the essence of Jesus' divine nature and the truths that make Christmas truly wonderful and meaningful.
Let your heart dwell on the wonderful truth, that Jesus Christ is God.
"Christ is exactly like God,
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EASTER THOUGHTS: THE GOOD SHEPHERD!
CWCI has been blessed! For those who have attended the Summer reTREAT meetings it has been a real joy to be refreshed and renewed in God's Word. We have been challenged and encouraged as we have listened to Lisa Watson, President of the CWCI International Board.
Speaking from Psalm 23 and the Gospels Lisa helped us to see Jesus as the Good Shepherd 'who cares' for us in every situation and circumstance. The Shepherd who calls His sheep by name and whose sheep know His voice.
Continuing the Good Shepherd theme and celebrating Easter let us focus on the words of John chapter 10. Here Jesus tells the people that He is the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd gives up his life for his sheep.
Jesus also says He is the gate for the sheep, verse 9, "I am the gate. All who come to me will be saved. Through me they will come and go and find pasture," and further in verse 10, he says, "I came so everyone would have life and have it fully. I am the good shepherd and the good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep." Again in verses 15,17,18, he says, "Just as the Father knows me, I know the Father, and I give up my life for my sheep."
"The Father loves me, because I give up my life, so I may receive it back again. No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly! I have the power to give it up and the power to receive it back again, just as my Father commanded me to do."
After Jesus declared he was the Good Shepherd, He willingly went to the cross and gave up His life for His sheep. The Good Shepherd gave His life, He gave it away freely and voluntarily, for the sake of the sheep, that they may be delivered from death and might have eternal life.
Jesus had the power to give up His life and the power to receive it back again. He died and on the third day 'received His life back again' for the sheep whom He knew, and who when called, would know Him and follow Him.
This Easter take time to give thanks to the Good Shepherd, read His Word, hear His voice calling you by name, leading you and loving you so much He gave His life that you, 'would have life and have it fully,' verse 10.
REST RESTORE REFRESH REJOICE!
I do love the refreshing patches of green grass in the city. Since coming to live in the Auckland CBD my husband and I have so enjoyed taking our daily walk in such a different environment from where we were previously living. Our street has its own little park and monument to the first church built in Auckland plus a lovely epitaph to the Reverend Churton. We often read these words and are refreshed and encouraged. Walking through Albert Park we marvel at God's amazing creation. The trees look so old and wise! Britomart Place provides green grass to relax on and children love to play on the fountains that spiral up from the pavement. The Atrium also provides greenery; the walls of plants are restful to the eye. I note that many people take full advantage of stopping off to enjoy the rest and refreshment that these special places provide, however the majority do not, they continue on their hectic way rushing from one place to another without a thought to what they may be like at the end of the day. We are all inclined to try and do more than is expected of us. We need to ask the question WHY? Does God expect us to run ourselves frail? I believe we need to take time in our busy schedules to STOP spiritual snacking and take time for real food!
Psalm 23, (CEV), helps us to focus on the 'spiritual food' the Lord wants to give us. Imagine the sheep looking at the shepherd and saying, "He is MY shepherd, He lets me rest, He leads me to.., He refreshes me, He leads me on the right path". Here is the responsibility of the shepherd to let us rest, be refreshed and restored from the busyness of life. Then our responsibility is to walk and follow as He leads us on the right paths and through the dark valleys, affirming that He is always with us. What is more the sheep says, "I see your rod of protection and correction and I feel safe and secure".
Next we have the guest looking at the host saying, "What an amazing treat, I feel honoured, my cup is full and even overflows". Both the sheep and guest say, "Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will stay here with my host forever".
How important to allow God to give us the spiritual food we need and then be ready and active to walk on the path where He leads. Too often we divert off the path and do more than He asks and we miss His call to rest, restore, refresh and rejoice!
The CWCI KYB Summer reTREATs - both weekends and events, are a great place to come and rest, be restored and refreshed. See details under Events and Registrations on this website.