A thought on why Christmas is special (prophecies fulfilled)

We celebrate Christmas 2013 today. 

If we look to our cities, shops and neighbourhoods it all seems to be about Santa Clause, Christmas trees etc.

However the background is quite a different one. And even though “Christmas” as we know it from its start had pagan roots, Christians all around the world consider it one of their biggest celebrations in the year. So instead of discussing its roots today or ways of celebrating….

When you and I as Christians celebrate this Christmas… let us not only remember the nativity story from Luke chapter 2. Let us remember WHAT was so significant about this man being born. Let us remember the cross of Calvary as well as the crib. Let usremember that he was no ordinary man but the promised Messiah to the Jews that would bring salvation ultimately to everyone who believed in Him. Let us remember how he – until now remaining unprecedented – has fullfilled all the prophecies given about his life. Most of which could not be influenced by himself. Let us remember the power of deliverance, healing, liberty, freedom, peace, love he proclaims and carries within His name.

And Most importantly: LET US PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS OF WHO JESUS WAS AND IS!

The below list is not exhaustive… its just something to start you thinking and researching. It is a quoted list… for details to the webpage please see below.

1 Messiah would be born of a woman. Genesis 3:15 Matthew 1:20 Galatians 4:4

2 Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1 Luke 2:4-6

3 Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:22-23 Luke 1:26-31

Messiah would come from the line of Abraham. Genesis 12:3 Genesis 22:18 Matthew 1:1 Romans 9:5

Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac. Genesis 17:19 Genesis 21:12 Luke 3:34

Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. Numbers 24:17 Matthew 1:2

Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10 Luke 3:33 Hebrews 7:14

Messiah would be heir to King David’s throne. 2 Samuel 7:12-13 Isaiah 9:7 Luke 1:32-33 Romans 1:3

Messiah’s throne will be anointed and eternal. Psalm 45:6-7 Daniel 2:44 Luke 1:33 Hebrews 1:8-12

10 Messiah would be called Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:23

11 Messiah would spend a season in Egypt. Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:14-15

12 A massacre of children would happen at Messiah’s birthplace. Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 2:16-18

13 A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah Isaiah 40:3-5 Luke 3:3-6

14 Messiah would be rejected by his own people. Psalm 69:8 Isaiah 53:3 John 1:11 John 7:5

15 Messiah would be a prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15 Acts 3:20-22

16 Messiah would be preceded by Elijah. Malachi 4:5-6 Matthew 11:13-14

17 Messiah would be declared the Son of God. Psalm 2:7 Matthew 3:16-17

18 Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Isaiah 11:1 Matthew 2:23

19 Messiah would bring light to Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2 Matthew 4:13-16

20 Messiah would speak in parables. Psalm 78:2-4 Isaiah 6:9-10 Matthew 13:10-15,34-35

21 Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1-2 Luke 4:18-19

22 Messiah would be a priest after the order ofMelchizedek. Psalm 110:4 Hebrews 5:5-6

23 Messiah would be called King. Psalm 2:6 Zechariah 9:9 Matthew 27:37 Mark 11:7-11

24 Messiah would be praised by little children. Psalm 8:2 Matthew 21:16

25 Messiah would be betrayed. Psalm 41:9 Zechariah 11:12-13 Luke 22:47-48 Matthew 26:14-16

26 Messiah’s price money would be used to buy a potter’s field. Zechariah 11:12-13 Matthew 27:9-10

27 Messiah would be falsely accused. Psalm 35:11 Mark 14:57-58

28 Messiah would be silent before his accusers. Isaiah 53:7 Mark 15:4-5

29 Messiah would be spat upon and struck. Isaiah 50:6 Matthew 26:67

30 Messiah would be hated without cause. Psalm 35:19 Psalm 69:4 John 15:24-25

31 Messiah would be crucified with criminals. Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38 Mark 15:27-28

32 Messiah would be given vinegar to drink. Psalm 69:21 Matthew 27:34 John 19:28-30

33 Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. Psalm 22:16 Zechariah 12:10 John 20:25-27

34 Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed. Psalm 22:7-8 Luke 23:35

35 Soldiers would gamble for Messiah’s garments. Psalm 22:18 Luke 23:34 Matthew 27:35-36

36 Messiah’s bones would not be broken. Exodus 12:46 Psalm 34:20 John 19:33-36

37 Messiah would be forsaken by God. Psalm 22:1 Matthew 27:46

38 Messiah would pray for his enemies. Psalm 109:4 Luke 23:34

39 Soldiers would pierce Messiah’s side. Zechariah 12:10 John 19:34

40 Messiah would be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-60

41 Messiah would resurrect from the dead. Psalm 16:10 Psalm 49:15 Matthew 28:2-7 Acts 2:22-32

42 Messiah would ascend to heaven. Psalm 24:7-10 Mark 16:19 Luke 24:51

43 Messiah would be seated at God’s right hand. Psalm 68:18 Psalm 110:1 Mark 16:19 Matthew 22:44

44 Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin. Isaiah 53:5-12 Romans 5:6-8

(list quoted from “Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled – 44 Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus Christ” By Mary Fairchild)

May you spend these days, becoming LOVERS OF CHRIST and allowing that change within you to change all that is surrounding you to bring light to this world.

Blessed Christmas.

When God says “NO”

There are moments in our Christian lives when God says neither “yes” nor “wait” but contrary to our religious ideas gives us a loud “no” when we least expect it.

To make a long story short that is exactly what happened to me this year. I had a desire on my heart that I had brought before God time and time again. Knowing part of my calling from God, I got frustrated with where I was and started longing for where I could eventually be. Don’t get me wrong…I believe we should constantly strive to reach the best we can be at what God gives us, however I started despising what God had given me. Deep inside my heart, there were moments when I only exercised frustrated obedience to what God had last instructed me to do. However that is a long way from being submissive and surrendering unto God.

So beginning of this year, it finally seemed as if God was getting to move in the direction I had hoped for so long. I made an enquiry… a short one…doubting if I’d ever get any answer to it (as I had not received answers to similar enquiries in the past) and within hours basically got offered a job. My dream job as it seemed. They continued to pursue me and over the next couple of months ALL doors imaginable seemed to open. It even seemed God was preparing me for the job.

I then went overseas to meet the team in May. The idea was to see if I fit the team before signing contracts. Two weeks before my flight, I broke my foot surfing. From that moment on, it strangely seemed like doors that God had opened were closing. The question remaining: “Is it God showing me that this is not what He has for me, or is it the devil trying to keep me from my destiny with God?” I decided it was the latter. So I still went overseas…on crutches.

When I got there, everything seemed perfect. The teaching was solid, the possible colleagues were really friendly, the ministry seemed to flourish. However the joy I had had up to the point of breaking my foot about it, didn’t set in. So I started to pray for God to reveal to me what was going on.

I received verses from people I trust… and from God, which I didn’t quite understand…and although they seemed to imply something positive, I was hesitant. Only when receiving the full verse I understood why. Psalm 106:15

Then a dear friend that I shared my dilemma with made me aware of something essential. For the past 6 years, I had been reluctant in my obedience to God. I had never embraced what He had given me, but instead had behaved like being on the platform of a train station, waiting for my train that would say: “calling”. Whilst I was still talking to my friend, God’s voice clearly called out from my inside: “Is what I have for you, not enough?”

Long story short, I didn’t need more invitations to repent than that. I deeply repented, then put my dream and the prospective job on Gods’ altar, allowing Him to do with it what He seemed fit.

The next day it happened that I was reading the story of Balaam (Numbers 22:23-27). It was one of those moments, when the Bible starts becoming alive. It matched my own story SO much… Balaam going where he believed he was supposed to go, the donkey moving off track to avoid an angel from God with a drawn sword, Balaam hitting the donkey, the next time the donkey thus moves aside to the other side, crushing Balaams foot. Only THEN Balaam sees the messenger from God.

To me Gods’ will was clear now. I declined the job. Shortly after the event, joy was restored. My heart was even filled with gratitude for Gods’ correction to my life.  When I returned home, it truly felt like home for the first time. I decided to fully embrace my job, not waiting impatiently for Gods’ next move, but loving with all my strength, leaving it to God whether He thinks it’s time to move or not.

This “NO” was clearer than most “no’s” I have ever had in my life. It was painful and humiliating to accept it initially. But God provided even in these moments. Often we fear Gods’ “no” so much, however all He wants is to help us stay on track so we can walk within His will. I trust Gods’ plans are higher than mine and His thoughts better than mine. I am grateful for His “no” and am excited about God.

Religious Routine or Adventurous Faith?

I have heard comments like “Christians have no fun”, “all the things that are fun happen outside of faith”, “being a Christian is boring” and many more… you too I presume. And sadly often these comments have a bit of truth – but why? And should it be like that?

Well to tell you the truth – NO, it shouldn’t be like that. God calls us to lead a life in abundance. A life FULL of joy and adventure – an adventure that can only be written WITH Jesus in your life.

But how do we get there? How do we go from routine and mediocrity to abundance and adventure in our daily lives on a daily level?

I hope to lead you closer to that.

Step 1:

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? (Romans 10:9) If not so… or if you are unsure study Romans 10:9 until God helps you understand fully…call upon Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Step 2:

Do you believe what the Bible says? I mean… do you believe ALL of what it says?

If so… great. If not so – then let us embark on a journey to help you make a founded and solid decision on the matter using scientific proof (please see blog posts on uniqueness of the Bible or check out provethebible.net; www.answersingenesis.org ; www.josh.org ).

If you are unsure… well then let us embark on the adventure of experiencing truth.

Step 3:

Act upon what the Bible says: i.e.

- if it tells you to spend time with God, do so… it might start out as something you are not used to doing…but will after some while be exciting above all!

- if it tells you to pray for the sick – try it. Do it again and again until God moves and the sick get healed.

- if it tells you to preach the Gospel – by all means please do!

- if it tells you that you need fellowship – then you probably do (remember, God has designed you – he should know)

etc. Just act upon what you come to know to be truth!

Step 4:

Challenge yourself to live radically!

Our own mind sets limitations to what we believe God can do! Challenge yourself to experience God radically… to live for God radically… to love radically…

Step 5:

Spend enough time with God to feel His heartbeat and His desire becoming yours. And spend enough time with the people to know their heartbeat and their needs.

Share of what you have – give all God gives to you to others and experience Gods provisions.

And experience the joy of giving it all you have and are and still being filled to the brim and overflowing.

You will never get bored. Not if you follow wholeheartedly… if you act upon the truths revealed to you and open up to God and allow Him be become Lord over every part of your live and being!

Church will not be a place to which you go – you will be the church.

Faith will not be a separated part of who you aim at to be – it will be the core of your being.

Every day life will no longer stand in contrast to Christianity, but will be an expression of it.

Boredom of Christians will NOT be part of who you are… it will be a thing of the past, that sounds abstract and that has proven itself as completely wrong once you follow Jesus wholeheartedly!

I hope you take the journey and stay on it! I’d love to hear all about it!

 

Finding God

As humans we all, constantly, look for solutions and answers. As a Christian one of the most vital ones seems the answer to where to find God… how to find Him… how to rediscover what it is all about…how to draw near again.

Let’s look at some biblical truth in this matter:

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Amos 5:4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live;

If anything, it seems that we CAN in fact find God. He wants to be found. However he will be found only in His true nature, when we seek wholeheartedly.

Here some ideas of where to look when you seek God and which ways will lead you astray eventually:

-          The Bible. I’d say the most logical place to look and the safest one if you want true information. For all we know about God will be found in there and in personal experiences, that no matter how personal they are won’t EVER contradict the Bible.

Books by Christians are often much loved and valued, are however never a solid choice. They might add to the picture given in the Bible, but every human depiction of who God is and how He is etc is fallible in itself.

So unless you just want to hype your feelings about what others experience with God, I’d suggest looking at the source of it all: God’s Word (the Bible).

-          Information outside the Bible and outside Christianity will – just like Christian faith – always be colored by a belief system. Thus is not objective, though it might claim to be (e.g. by saying it is scientific – because you find Christian scientists and non-Christian scientist that are thus again part of another belief system).

Though outside sources might support the biblical claims, I ask you to be aware of the fact that every person has a belief system and every statement made is colored by such.

So if you desire to find the Christian God, look at His own work – the Bible, read it.  

Pray – you will be surprised that God answers those that truly seek Him.

Seek fellowship with other Christians – they might in fact be able to guide the way further even though we are all fallible.

May God bless your journey in finding God!

If you are Christian but feel far away from God and want to draw near again:

- spend time alone with God!

- visit a church (even if it is not perfect – none is. But the Church is God’s choice for a body.)

- read the Bible again!

- choose to worship and make it all about God and less about yourself!

Trust… God will be found… He wants to be found by you again! You CAN draw near again! God is waiting for you!

And if you like… share your story about finding God with us! Email it to me… or post it as a comment!

Be blessed!

Looking back at 2012

Many often ask who I am and what I am doing. So here a recap of 2012 and what I spent my time on doing:

I am 31 years of age, teacher at a local private school and dedicated member and servant in Shofar Christian Church Swakopmund.

At the school I have a grade 5 as register teacher and teach Natural Science as main subject in it. Other than that I teach Physical Education in grades 3-7 and Religion and Moral education in grades 5-7.

Other than that, I lead a small group with teenage girls who I disciple and have the privilege of leading and accompanying into a vivid relationship with Jesus Christ. Also I am part of the intercessory group in my church and lead the Outreach and Missions Ministry.

Here a summary of what went on throughout this year in the outreach and missions ministry.

I pray you enjoy it and am looking forward to another year of serving our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Outreach and Missions presentation for blog

Abundant blessings!

Jessica

Reach out to your family this Christmas

The final post before Christmas…and I gave it quite some thought. As you probably read in my first post on the topic there are many who feel Christmas is a festival of hypocrisy amongst people they should love.

Love can however only flow, when we are reconciled and act in true love toward one another. Often it is reconciliation that lacks. Offence, bitterness, unforgiveness and even hate all too often dwell among those we should love most.

Now…no matter who started it, whose fault it was or who should make the first step… I want to challenge you:

YOU do the first step toward reconciliation. Take time… take beautiful paper…and write letters.

Letters to all those that you don’t feel 100% comfortable around due to one of the above reasons or where you deem they feel that way about you and you don’t even know why.

Write a letter to each of them. Make the letters individuals. Write and ask for forgiveness… forgive, and put into words you appreciation and you love for that person instead. Compliment them where it honestly applies… appreciate them for the things we often take for granted as well.

writing letter

Put the letters into beautiful envelopes and if you can… deliver them personally or make sure they still get them on time!

Only when you and I make the first step in love and humility towards reconciliation will Christmas happen in your own home too.

May you be abundantly blessed this CHISTmas!

How to give – Christmas

Perhaps the previous posts were not quite yours… or perhaps you enjoy giving and would love some more ideas? Well here is a marvelous idea:

Buy a big plastic bucket, then fill it with day to day goodies and staple foods:

Flour, sugar, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit, cereals, … whatever comes to mind. Make sure not to buy the cheapest goods, but things you would have enjoyed receiving yourself!

food buckets

Then pray to God to reveal a person who would need such a gift for Christmas. Probably it will be someone you are barely acquainted with… the single mom next doors, an old lady you meet when taking a walk in the neighborhood, … .

Go there and deliver it with a card reading Christmas blessings you feel applicable.

Believe me when I say… the recipient of such a gift (when being shown by God to you) will be the happiest person you will meet in a looong time!

Blessings!

Christmas season – outreach idea

Here we go… I hope you enjoyed my last two posts on this topic. Here is a second idea on how to reach people with God’s love this Christmas season.

Go to: http://www.fathersloveletter.com/ and copy the text in the most common languages of the area you live in.

Print it on beautiful paper, roll the message up and bind a lovely ribbon around it. (You do want to take at least 20 of them… they will be gone quicker than you know.)

rolled up letter

(Sometimes attaching a sweet helps when distributing them.)

Then go out into the streetssmile!… and hand them out as season greetings to people you pass by. And experience the blessing of receiving a smile and knowing you just handed them the key that might lead to life!

Blessings!

A Christmas idea – how to give

Perhaps after reading my previous blog, you were wondering how you could reach out to others?

Well here is idea number one: if you can, bake some Christmas cookies, decorate them beautifully and put a few of them in small little cellophane bags with a beautiful ribbon.

wrapped cookies1

Then go to Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”3

Copy this text (handwritten if you can) or a part of it. If you feel like doing something special copy it on a piece of paper you later can fold into a star, otherwise just roll it. Attach a beautiful ribbon and bind it to the cookies.

Then go into town… choose people, smile and wish them a blessed Christmas, whilst giving them a small Christmas gift. And allow God to surprise you.

Blessings!

A controversial season – Christmas season

Spending time chatting to friends on the net about this topic I find that there are in general two groups: those that love this season (for various reasons), and those that hate it. What makes each group feel the way they do? Why does this season arouse such strong feelings?

Those that love it are in fact few. It is those that love spending time on holiday, with family, and loving others. In our society this group is getting smaller by the minute.

Among those that hate it are those that feel forced to hypocritically play the game of “ideal idyllic world”. They are sick and tired of fighting all year long and having to PLAY peace over Christmas… they long for true reconciliation and true love and true acceptance. However every year they feel like hypocrites (which they condemn and hate), and they lose faith in ever celebrating a truly felt Christmas.

Then there are those that hate it, for they feel lonelier than ever in this season. They lack family, true friends, company, an ear and a heart that listen. Some even lack essentials…

And there are those that bear bitterness in their hearts that surmounts all love directed toward them in this season. They would even argue that NO love is ever shown towards them. And looking at it with human eyes…some of them would have every reason to feel that way.

HOWEVER, does it have to be that way? It seems around the world this season is used to promote help for aid organisations, mobilise consume of every and any kind, and to promote happiness. Surely that arouses anyone’s feelings. Those that promote it get excited when people like it…and when they explicitly don’t.

Those that hate it… they long for joy, not happiness, peace of heart, not of a moment, love unconditional instead of all the conditions attached. Every event, occasion or date that explicitly celebrates and names JESUS, is increasingly becoming such a controversial matter. Jesus doesn’t leave people untouched.

So what can you and I do to change Christmas for the people we meet this festive season?

-          ask for forgiveness (no matter who’s fault it was), and choose to forgive (EVERY TIME)

-          (confess) love and make a point of giving true compliments

-          give… of your time, your love, your effort… not to gain back…but to demonstrate love

-          spend an amount of time, doing something you never did before, to bless others (ideas for that will follow here on the blog throughout the next few days)

-          spread the GOSPEL… spread the message of the light in the stable that became the light of the world, when dying at the cross.

In short,… BE Jesus to them…even if it seems like little to you… it might mean the world to others. Live your faith, without hypocrisy, applied practically, authentically and full of love…and witness about how your needs were met by Jesus.

And if you need ideas on how to do this… observe this blog… I will post an idea every day until Christmas now.

May God bless you abundantly!

Jessica