When I was in high school I used to drink, party and think I was cool. It turned out I wasn’t cool. I really started being cool when I began studying the Bible. That sounds crazy but I met a beautiful girl and developed a Godly confidence. I could stand up for what I thought was right. When I was in High School I used to just give in to others and popular culture. Whatever was popular I would do. But it slowly hit me that the right thing to do and the hardest thing to do was the same. Being a Christian is not always easy. The Christian worldview is different than the popular worldview. But life isn’t supposed to be easy. We face trials to grow and become better people. I believe that Satan and humans are controlling this world, not God. That’s why there is so much suffering and death. With these trials come temptation. Temptation is all around us all of the time. But we have the ability to control our actions. We truly are responisble for own actions, especially when we know what we are supposed to do. And most of the time, bad choices lead to consequences.

If we seek a Godly wisdom it will be easier to make good choices. In the book of Matthew, Jesus is tempted by Satan. But Jesus didn’t give into the temptations Satan was giving him (Matthew 4: 1-11). He was confident in himself and God’s word. Personally I know it feels good to stand up for something I feel is right. It gives me confidence in myself and purpose. Life isn’t easy but we can trust in God’s word for guidance. It takes self-control, discipline and most important Godly wisdom. How are we supposed to know what to do when we don’t have wisdom. There is something that hits home with me whenever I fight the good fight and I Godly wisdom to the situation. I like to think of life as walking through an apple orchard. Except these apples represent the ones in the story of Adam and Eve. We don’t have to eat all the apples on our walk. We should just walk patiently through, enjoying the scenery.

What are we looking for as humans? Many people are looking for happiness. I have a great relationship with my girlfriend but there are times when we fight. But what happens when there is no happiness. There are time in our lives when we want to know about deep things and big questions. Why are we here? Who am I? Naturally we seek answers to these deep questions. This is because there are times when we look for some sort of directionality to our lives. We feel empty when we can’t find the answers to these questions. Like any good scholar, we should use reliable sources for our research. What sources do you use? Many people use other people to seek answers. Some people seek what’s popular in culture at the time. What about life’s problems? A good relationship will fix my woes! How about money. If I had more money, my life would be better. But what happens when there is no money. There is nothing to hold on too. What happens when there is pain and sorrow in life. What happens when life is just downright hard.

Have you ever taken a test? Do you remember taking tests in high school or taking finals in college? If you think about tests in the simplest terms, they have a very simple purpose. They disclose information about the person taking the test. They tell whomever is giving the test information about the test taker. Well thats life and you can’t get a pass to the bathroom. Life is full of tests. Why do we have to take tests in life? They show us how to overcome difficulties and grow. Sometimes it’s the “nail in the butt” that changes the way we live. Tests also reveal wisdom. But is it possible to actually find joy in pain and in hard times? If you read the book of James in the Bible, you will see that James says yes!

I suffer from tendinitis in my shoulder and rotator cuff. I taught myself how to overcome the pain. I taught myself how to control the pain rather than let it control me. It actually gave me joy to overcome it and continue to overcome it. It helps me perpetually grow as a person. I seek the Bible as my source. When James wrote his letter to Jewish Christians under attack around A.D. 45, he wrote it as a letter of hope and learning. He wrote it as a servant of God.

(James 1 1:1-8) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Peace and Love,

The Editor

You may have heard the Christian story of the birth of Jesus Christ. You may put up a nativity scene in your front yard or somewhere inside your house. But why did the story happen the way it did? Is is just a fun story for us to tell on Christmas or is there a deeper underlying point to why it happened the way it did. Why did it happen in a manger? Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem. When you think of the story of Jesus birth, you may think of a little barn. Well in truth, Jesus was most likely born inside a cave. When Mary had to flee Nazarene and go to Bethlehem, she most likely resided in a cave where she gave birth to Jesus and placed him on a manger of hay. They were forced to go somewhere like this because, the inn they went to in Bethlehem had no rooms left. This cave was most likely a place for sheep to stay. It probably smelled bad and wasn’t the ideal place for a baby to be born. (Luke 2:1-7)

But there is a purpose for the way Jesus was born. Let’s look at another scenario. What if Jesus had been born a prince like many Jews at the time were expecting? He would most likely been born in a palace and have many nice things. This would make people think that Jesus was here to have a great time! In reality, he was born a suffering servant. He came down from heaven and made himself man! Like a servant or a slave, he gave up his rights in order to serve humans. He emptied himself and made himself nothing.

Philippians 2:5-11 

In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit, But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing . He was born as a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death – death on a cross. So God raised him to the highest place. God made his name greater than every other name. So that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus – everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord and bring glory to God the Father.

If you asked the President of a country to go live in a hut, what do you think they would say? They would probably say no way. But you see God works in mysterious ways! God opposes the proud and embraces the humble. God’s power is demonstrated through weakness. He uses weakness and meekness to show his glory. Why does he do this? So that people won’t boast about their accomplishments. When we are weak and God helps us we don’t give glory to ourselves! When we feel useless God may do something great.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

Jesus was a normal guy (Isaiah 53) but he attracted people to him by what he had inside. His birth was symbolic of his sacrificial mission. His mission was to die on the cross for our sins! It’s pretty incredible to think that God sent his son to earth to live among humans and die among humans. During the Christmas time it’s important to remember this idea. Santa Claus is fun but be sure to remember to remember Christ’s birth and death. Don’t let commercialism destroy the true meaning of Christmas as a holiday. Please don’t forget the the greatest gift we have ever received!

Peace and Love,

The Editor

I arise today through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
through a belief in the threeness,
through confession of the oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today through the strength of Christ’s
birth with His baptism, through the strength
of his crucifxion with his burial, through
the strength of his resurrection with His
ascension, through the strength of His
descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today through God’s strength to pilot
me:

God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me

Christ to shield me today…
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
through a belief in the threeness,
through confession of the oneness
of the Creator of creation.

In November, a survey of citizens in second and third world countries showed a substantial increase in the Christian faith.  The survey showed that more than 47 percent of Africans consider themselves Christian. Although, it is not known how many Chinese are Christian, the estimate is between 40 million and 100 million. Many Chinese citizens face persecution for believing in the Christian faith. Korea is fastly becoming the number one nation for creating missionaries. Collectively, there is approximately 2 billion Christians world wide. It’s so great to see people of the world outside of America hearing the Word of God.

Peace and Love,

The Editor

Money tends to rule many lives. It also tends to separate people from God. Our financial role is to be managers of our money and not owners of our money. When we have a chance to use our money for good, we should jump on those opportunities!

Imagine if the pastor of your church gave you the weekly offering and told you to spend it on whatever you think best. How would you spend that money? You would probably spend it on noble things. Why don’t we view our own personal money like that. Most people will say that we need to spend money on surviving. This is true! But what about that extra money you have. Are you just an end-user of that money or do you invest it into making the world a better place? God gives us the opportunity and privilege of investing money for him.

Any money we earn from our employers or other places is God’s money. We are simply the middle-men in the scenario so to speak. If we want to be truly happy with where our money goes we should not be the end-users, rather strive to be God’s middle-men.

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

-CS Lewis from The Weight of Glory

Have you ever planted something and watched it grow? Maybe you grew something in a garden or somewhere in you front or backyard. When it’s finished growing aren’t you proud of what you made? You planted something and it grew because of you. You invested it in something and it grew. Whether it be some fruit or a large tree, it grew because of what you did. This is the same thing in life. Our actions bear consequences. We should invest wisely and make eternal investments. Like many other people, I was raised to value things of this world. What can I do to make myself happier? I never really thought about the benefits of investing in other people. I wanted to be rich and money but never thought about being rich towards other people. After studying the Christian faith, I learned that the Christian duty is to think outside of one’s own personal interest. The best way to do this is generosity towards others. Everyday we are confronted with issues that make us want more.

You may go to a friends house that is nicer than yours or see someone driving a nicer car. Our immediate reaction is to want what they have. Everyone is told to desire the “good life.” But when you get down to it, this isn’t our permanent residence. We really can’t take those things with us. I’m not saying we don’t need anything for ourselves. We need money to survive. But we usually want we can’t have when nothing ever seems to be good enough. The things we use to fills this gap often leave us empty though. The true wealth is investing in what God wants. God can fill that gap for us. Many people fill this gap with money, sex, television. You name it. But I feel true fufillment is investing in God’s Kingdom.

Psalm 49 16-17:

Don’t be afraid of rich people because their houses are more beautiful. They don’t take anything to the grave; their wealth won’t go down with them.

1 Timothy 6: 17-19

Command those who are rich with things of this world no to be proud. Tell them to hope in God, not in their uncertain riches. God richly gives us everything we enjoy. Tell the rich people to do good, to be rich in doing good deeds, to be generous and ready to share. By doing that, they will be saving a treasure for themselves as a strong foundation for the future. Then they will be able to have the life that is true life.

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