Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Really Good Thing about Christmas

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased!”

- Luke 2:14 (NET Bible) 
Good News? The headlines are filled with almost everything but! Peace??? Where? 2010 has been a flurry of a year! How can anyone argue with that? 2000 years after Christ’s birth, we see wars, famines, etc. Where is God in the midst of suffering, violence, sickness, and death?

I’ve heard good questions like these, and to be honest, I don’t know if my answer would satisfy the person that has these questions, but I have an answer that satisfies me. It all has to do with the words of the angels in the Christmas story. There IS good news: God has extended peace to men. Despite our violent and deceitful ways, He wants a relationship. Where we’ve rejected Him and His ways, He’s ready to lay aside His right to judge us, even taking the punishment we deserve upon Himself. And more than that, He has promised to fix us up. Where we’ve made mistakes, He brings restoration. And when we’ve been fated to death, He promises eternal life.

So may this Christmas find you resting in His peace, restoration and life… extending throughout and beyond this upcoming New Year!
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

- Romans 8:28-29 (NET Bible)

copyright ©2010 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com//)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Joyful Christmas Program

I was reading a book on marriage discussing the concept of making your own happiness. The author wrote that the human mind is like a computer that regularly receives programming: positive talk reinforces a positive outlook while negative talk promotes a negative outlook. The author continued to identify “self-talk” as the thoughts we allow ourselves to think repeatedly that have the same impact on our perspective.

Now, I believe that happiness flows from our response to circumstances, which in turn comes from our ability to find joy, and according to Scripture, joy is a fruit of the spirit. So spending time with God allows the fruit of joy to fill us… but we need to agree with the truth He reveals to us for the fruit to grow. Our thoughts need to be conformed first to His way of thinking (1 Cor 10:5, Phil 4:8). I’m not always good at putting this into practice, but I’ve resolved to program my way of thinking so I can respond with joy and happiness to the circumstances of the day.

In turn, I’d like to encourage everyone to enter this Christmas season with a sense of expectancy because God is moving. He knows about the circumstances of this present time; He cares about it because He cares for each of us; and He has the power to bring about a great and glorious good that surpasses anything we’d come up with. In a sense, it’s a new Christmas program: not a preset expectation of what our individual traditions “should be”, but a positive outlook that God is involved in this season… for us and through us… to advance His kingdom in our lives and through our lives by the renewing of our minds.

From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.

The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:20-21 (New International Version, ©2010)

So may the peace and joy of Christ the King rule in our hearts and minds, to glory of His Name and the advancement of His kingdom in this world! “God bless us, everyone!”

Merry Christmas!

copyright ©2010 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)