Monday, December 31, 2012

Good News for ALL // Testimonies from my India Travels

Since I was out of the country, in a rather tropical part of the world, and we didn't set up our tree or decorations until about one week before Christmas I am still in "gear up" mode. I realize it is after Christmas now but my anticipation of the season has just begun to grow. So for now it's still Christmas time around here.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all peopleFor unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
// Luke 2:10-11 //
(emphasis added)

     See min 1:06. "He is for all mankind."

The separation is great between the privileged of first world countries and the impoverished of third world countries. But, contrary to sub-conscious belief, we did not earn or privileged lives by good deeds, nor were the poor born into a life devoid of privilege because of the lack of them. Class and rank, caste and income have nothing to do with our merit. Jesus chose to be born in the lowliest place. Rich, white Christians do not "own" Him. The persecuted Christians of the Middle East do not "own" Him. He is for all mankind.

The classic characters of the Nativity scene are varied, from a carpenter and young virgin, to hundreds of angels, from shepherds that were weather-worn and dirty, to the magi who bore extravagant gifts... but are those the only people who would have been welcome to visit the newborn King? Certainly not! He is for all mankind.

{I am sure there are many families that could tell the same story but my Pastor told this tale of his fascination with the Nativity scene as a child...} Imagine a nativity scene, set up in a special place in a home with young kids, with all the original characters positioned to be looking on at the baby Jesus. As the days to Christmas progress additional characters are added to the scene: a batman action figure, a transformer, a few Veggie Tale characters, a teddy bear, and a T-Rex all appear on the scene, trying to catch a glimpse of Jesus. No one turned away, all welcome to come and see. He is for all mankind.

Nothing has changed. Everyone is welcome to come to Him, He came to provide a way to the Father for anyone who would take it. No matter who came to Him, they all had to get on their knees in a very humble place to see Him. So regardless of whether we are from wealthy America or from desperate India, we are all humbled before Him, welcome in His presence, and invited to be co-heirs with Him. He is for all mankind.

This heart, our King's heart, His Father's heart -- a heart that is for us! -- is something I was very aware of during my time in India. I felt the depth of His love for people I had never met... I experienced His heart for America. Like you can sense and feel the love of people in your life, I assure you that you can sense and feel God's love for you, and that love is beyond description, beyond comprehension. I am certain that I only experienced a drop of the ocean that is His love -- and that drop was enough to knock the air out of me or cause me to soar. You are welcome to the fullness of that love. It is what motivated Christ to leave His home in heaven and be born as a human, to live among us and die for us. It is the gift offered to us by His sacrifice. It is what we celebrate at Christmas. May you know the love of God! He is for all mankind.

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
// Ephesians 3:14-19 //
(emphasis added)

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Happy New Year!
Happy, because JOY is not dependent on circumstance, only upon Jesus' presence.
He is for all mankind.

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