¡Feliz Navidad!

It is the custom in Mexico to gather with family on Christmas Eve and celebrate the coming of Christ at midnight. Much like ringing in the New Year people stay up late on December 24th and celebrate. Tonight as we prepared to go to sleep we heard a few faint blows of a tuba warming up in the distance. It didn’t take long until a full mariachi was thumping along happily: bum..bum..bum..bum. With the tuba bouncing along, surrounded by full brass, they have played noisily from the town plaza for the last four hours. Finally they have retired for the night at 4:00am and now I lay awake thinking about the different customs we practice to commemorate the coming of the King of Kings. 

I bet there weren’t any tubas in Bethlehem that night, but the lowing of cattle filled the stable as Mary gave birth to the Savior of humanity…Jesus Christ.

PS: I guess they had just taken a 15 minute break, because once again, there goes the tuba merrily bouncing along. 

Becoming New

According to a holy God there is a price for sin. That price is death. But because God loves us, he gave us the solution. He sent Jesus to pay that price for us. God offers this free gift to all. The only thing we have to do is accept it…Accept Him. 
We don’t have to be perfect or “all cleaned up” to do this. That is the beauty of God’s plan. He loves us and desires a personal relationship with us. We don’t have to change in order to come to him. 
However, after coming to him and accepting him as savior, God puts within us a desire to please Him. Little by little, we begin to replace our old habits with new ones and little by little we realize that he has done an amazing thing in our lives. God has made us a new person. 

The Mud Problem: We must come clean!

We have a dog who loves to go on walks. In fact, when you get out his leash, he comes running. I remember one of the first times I took him on a walk, as we came near home he tugged more and more towards a water puddle. I, of course, thinking he was thirsty, took him to the water to get a drink. But he had other things in mind! As soon as we approached the water, he dove in head first and began rolling around in the water, covering himself with mud. He would prefer being covered in mud, rather than washed clean. 

We, the human race, are much the same. We enjoy the things that make us dirty. In fact, we often wallow in them. But to make our actions seem better than they are, we compare ourselves with others. And we can always find someone whose behavior is much worse than ours. Unfortunately there is a problem with this line of thought; Our peers are not the standard, God is, and God is holy! When compared to holy, we no longer measure up. We are dirty just like my dog who loves running head first into muddy water.
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” – John 3:19

The sin problem: Why do we need salvation?

The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This is both a flesh problem and a heredity problem. We sin because it is in our nature to do so. This nature came early on in the human race, through one man, Adam. When he disobeyed God, sin entered humanity. There is a consequence for sin and that consequence is eternal damnation. 
Now God knew that it was impossible for us to overcome our sin nature, so in His great love for us He conceived a plan to redeem us and place us back in right standing with Him. He canceled the heredity-sin issue through the sacrifice of his perfect son, Jesus. 
The price for sin was paid by God so that we could experience eternal life. Now we can overcome sin by accepting his free gift of salvation. God’s salvation is free and like any other gift all we have to do is “unwrap” it. 
Romans 3:23; 6:23

Ephesians 2:8

The Price:How salvation works. 

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21
God is holy. Because of his holiness, he can not stand sin. Man is sinful. Because of his sinfulness, he can not stand in God’s presence. Somehow we needed to be made right with God.

The penalty of sin is death. Romans 6:23

Someone had to pay the price for sin. The Bible says that Jesus, who knew no sin, became our substitution. Much like how someone might pick up the tab for us at a restaurant. Jesus, paid our sin price and he paid that price with his blood. When we accept Jesus as our savior we are symbolically covered by his blood. When God looks at us, instead of seeing our sin, he sees the righteousness of Christ. Because of this we can now stand in God’s eternal presence.