Monday, December 17, 2012

Why *DID* Christ Come to Earth Anyway?

As we often go into this time of year we spend the majority of our time focusing on…

Sleeping outside stores on the cold ground in order to get the latest gadget at the best sale price
Santa Clause
Peppermint mocha coffee 
Love, Peace, and Joy
Hope for the Future

This time of year passes so quickly that we are often left scrambling to absorb those feelings of joy and peace to last us the rest of the year. We tend to spend time indulging ourselves and our own happiness! 

(Let’s be honest … We focus on feeding our greed, aka the lust of the flesh.)

Our happiness, the joy of the season… what is it based on?

"Don’t tell me of your happiness if it daily depends on the uncertainties of the earth. Your home may be rich in comforts; your family may be all you could desire; your income may be amply sufficient to meet all your wants. But oh, remember, if you have nothing more than this to look to, that you are standing on the edge of a cliff! Your joy may be deep and earnest, but it is fearfully short-lived. It has no root. It is not true happiness." ~ J.C. Ryle 

Where do you find your happiness in life? Is happiness a person or a thing? In what do you find happiness? Since Christmas is in the near future, this is a very important subject on which we should give significant consideration.  

The true celebration of Christmas is in the birth of Christ. We must regain our focus on Jesus Christ! In order to have lasting joy, hope, peace, and true happiness in our hearts, we must learn to love Christ. In order to love Him more fully, we must understand why He came to earth in the first place. 

Why was it necessary for Christ to come to earth as a baby?

As promised in the Old Testament Scriptures, Christ came into the world to save sinners by His death upon the Cross, according to the set purpose and plan of God, that the way should be open for sinners to obtain a right relationship with God and therefore the gift of eternal life.

He did not come to call the righteous (Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32).
He did not come to condemn or judge the world (John 3:17; 12:47).
He did not come to abolish the law or the prophets (Matthew 5:17).
He did not come to be served and waited upon (Mark 10:45).

He came down from heaven (John 6:38).
He did not come of His own accord or His own initiative (John 7:28).
He was sent into the world (John 4:34; compared with John 3:16).
He did not come to do His own will (John 6:38).
He came from the Father (John 8:42; John 16:28; John 17:8).
He came to do the Father's will (John 4:34; John 6:38; John 8:29; Luke 2:49).
His aim throughout His earthly ministry was to please the Father (John 5:30).

He came as the One promised in the Old Testament as the Messiah and Saviour (Luke 7:20; John 6:14; John 11:27).
He came to fulfil all the promises God had made about the coming One (Matthew 11:3-6): to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour (Luke 4:18-19).
Thus He came first to His own people - the Jewish people - to whom He had been promised (John 1:11).
Most of all He came to fulfil the Scriptures that show that the Messiah had to suffer for others and then rise from the dead (Mark 14:49; Isaiah 53; Acts 8:30-35; Acts 17:3).

He came to make the Father known - His grace and truth - for no one has ever seen God, but the only begotten Son, who is at the Father's side, has made Him known (John 1:17-18).
He came to testify to the truth about God (John 18:37).
He came to complete the law, or, expressing it in another way, to reveal more completely what God requires of us (Matthew 5:17).
He came to give to us the words of the Father (John 3:34; John 7:16; John 8:26; John 14:24).
He came to speak what the Father had commanded Him to say - and His words are the words of eternal life (John 12:49-50).
One of the reasons why Christ is called 'the Light' is that He revealed the Father (John 3:19).

He came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
Acting on the principle that it is the sick who need a doctor and not the well, He came to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:12-13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32).
Because of His purpose to save sinners, He spent His time with them, much to the disgust of the self-righteous (Matthew 11:19).
He came to seek and to save the lost (Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:1-32; 19:10; John l0:16).
He came to be the Saviour of the world (John 12:47; 1 John 4:14)- to make it possible for God to save those in danger of perishing (John 3:16).
He came that we might believe on Him and be saved (John 3:16-17; John 6:29).

He made it plain to His disciples that He had to go to Jerusalem, there to suffer much from the elders, chief priests and scribes, to be put to death, and to be raised again on the third day (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22) - all in accord with what was written of Him in the law of Moses, in the prophets and the Psalms (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 22:37; Luke 24:44-47).
He came into the world with the deliberate intention of dying upon the Cross (John 12:27; Acts 2:23).
He came to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
He came to be lifted up on the Cross just as the snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert (John 3:14; John 12:34).
He came to give His own flesh for the life of the world (John 6:51).
He was constantly aware of the terrible suffering that was ahead of Him in His crucifixion (Luke 12:50).
The whole programme of His earthly life moved towards the Cross as its climax (John 7:6, John 7:8, John 7:30; John 8:20; John 12:23, John 12:27; John 13:1; John 17:1; Luke 24:6-7).
He came to be the propitiation - the atoning sacrifice - for our sins (1 John 4:10).

He came that those who accept Him may receive a right relationship with the Father (Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16; John 13:20).
He came that, by means of the Cross, He might be the way to God for us (John 14:6).
He came to proclaim the good news of peace through the reconciliation made possible by the Cross (Ephesians 2:16-17).
He came to bring us spiritual life (John 5:40; John 6:51, John 6:58; John 10:10; John 20:31; 1 John 4:9).
He came so that everyone who has faith in Him as the crucified and risen Messiah should possess eternal life (John 3:14-15; John 6:40, John 6:51, John 6:58; John 17:3).

*  To celebrate the birth of Christ is to celebrate His death and His subsequent victory over death

(The following is an exerpt from Bob's message, "Born to Die!")

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pray for Peru!

Tonight we found out some interesting information from one of our coworkers in Peru.

Please pray that the president of Peru will sign a modification to the law which would allow foreign mission boards not to have a minimum number of members in order to get the resident carnets. If he does not sign, then after Jan 19, 2013, we will not be able to renew or request new annual carnets unless we get the minimum number of members. Original bill says 10,000 members (almost impossible to comply). One modification says 150 members (possible to comply but we would have to join other foreign mission groups and many missionaries currently serving will have to start the entire process of residency all over again). The current one, which we want him to sign, has NO minimum number and we go on with our current ministries.
Please pray with us for this matter.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Update

"Never does a person see any beauty in Christ as a Savior, until they discover that they are a lost and ruined sinner." ~ J.C. Ryle

This last month has been very hectic, as the churches we visited have been busy with many Thanksgiving and Christmas activities. It has been such a blessing to participate in many of these activities and to see how different congregations celebrate these special holidays. During this time, our travels have taken us from Visalia in the south and Burney in the north; however, most of our meetings have been within two hours of San Francisco. 
We were in Burney, CA on December 9th and had a wonderful time with the church family there! It was a chilly change from the weather in San Francisco, so we were glad we packed our coats! The next day, we drove twelve hours to Kingman, AZ, where we will be ministering for the next two weeks. We will be spending Christmas with some of Bob's family here!
While in Arizona, we will pick up a borrowed travel trailer that we will use for the remainder of deputation. This will help immensely, as next year's schedule is filling up quickly and will include travel from California to Ohio. While in Arizona, we have also been able to find some work, which will greatly help our financial need!

Wondering about next year's schedule? Click to see the current list:

We pray that each of you has a Wonderful Christmas and a Blessed New Year! Christ was "Born to Die," so that we may live, and that's the message that the world needs to hear! May we commit to share this message with the lost around us each day, starting today and throughout 2013!
Prayer Requests:
-Safety: Since we are on the road a lot, we always covet your prayers in this area. Thankfully, our GMC has provided a higher profile than the Toyota. This has proved helpful in California traffic!
-Finances: The last few months have been difficult in this area. Since we are on the road so much, we have felt the pinch, as expenses for fuel and vehicle maintenance have been high. We ask that you pray for us in this area. 
-Support: Our monthly support level has remained at 27.4% but several churches will be voting on us at their year-end business meetings. We covet your prayers that we still reach 50% in the next few weeks! Our goal is still to reach full support by next year. Please pray with us for this!