Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Feliz Navidad!


Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Forgotten Man

Hey Everyone,

A Merry Christmas eve to you..

So how has this Christmas season been for you this year?

Hope it's been a joyous one..

Anyway, just some thoughts over Christmas..

Was having QT this morning and the title was about "The Forgotten Man".
Any guesses about who this 'forgotten man' could be?

No no.. it ain't a Baby, whose birthday we're celebrating. We rarely forget about Him, although we do have troubles letting Him play the main character in our Christmas celebrations sometimes.

Well, it's actually the man who was given the responsibility to help bring up this very special Child.
Yes, it is none other than Joseph, the husband of Mary, the young virgin who took upon her shoulders the responsibility of carrying in her womb the Saviour of the world.

Why are we talking about him? His role ain't as significant.
You think so?

Well, I've always thought so.. I mean, he wasn't the one who was going to suffer the pain of giving birth to a child, who was to eventually die a cruel death on the cross at Calvary.

But then, I forgot one thing... that was he didn't have an easy ride either in this preparation for the most important birth of the world - the birth of Christ.
Having an angel appear before him (though in a dream) must have been a real shock. Not just that. I believe it must have also been terrifying. If I was in his shoes, I would've certainly asked myself, "Why in the world would an angel appear to me now (just before he was going to secretly divorce Mary - so not to disgrace her by making a public divorce)? Oh no, what will God be asking of me?"; I would definitely not be able to sleep well after that.

And if having an angel appear before him wasn't frightening enough, being told to go against what he was planning to do, and to take up the responsibility to be the 'father' of the coming Saviour must have been overwhelming, to say the least.

I would honestly not know what to do if I were in his shoes (probably that's precisely why Joseph was chosen instead of me.. hehe). I would've probably chickened out and let God know that the task was way beyond me, was beyond what I can do.
Well, come to think of it.. it was away beyond Joseph too. But he didn't chicken out. He obeyed. Yes, he OBEYED.

He knew it would not be an easy ride after that. He knew what was going to come.
He knew that people would look at him differently. I mean.. a pregnant virgin? Yeah right..
Well, not everyone believed that with God, all things are possible.
Not everyone knew about Elizabeth, who was at a very old age when she had John the Baptist in her womb.
Not everyone remembered how God brought the Israelites out of Egypt.
And not everyone believed in the prophets, who prophesied about a virgin who were to give birth to our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

With his own strength, he would've failed. With his own efforts, he would've eventually given up. Only God would be able to bring someone through this difficult period.

He had full faith in God. He TRUSTED God.

He trusted and obeyed.

Would you? Would I?

Perhaps, this is something for us to think about...


Anyway, a blessed Christmas to all of you!

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 07, 2007

The Thief on the Cross (Justified)

It was as though a thousand layers
Of fraud and murder and affairs,
Each wrapped around his shrinking heart,
And hard as steel, had come apart.
He hung there silent, numb and hoarse
From screaming at the pain. The coarse
And filthy language of his soul
Dried scarlet on the splintered pole.
No strength remained to comprehend
How these few, quiet words could rend
The wicked wineskins of his life
Where every other moral knife
Had snapped like twigs against the rock.

The man had heard the soldiers mock
The Lord, and joined them at the first.
He saw him keep his peace, and thirst,
And with this tongue he whipped and sliced
The folly of a feeble Christ.
And then by some strange providence
Of grace, above his impudence
He heard the word of Life—not preached,
But whispered low; and that it reached
His ear above the blasphemy
Of his own lips was gift, as free
As gifts could ever be. He heard
Above the mockery the word:
"O Father, please, I beg of you,
Forgive, they know not what they do."
A curse, half-formed beneath his teeth,
Fell silent to the ground beneath,
Like slaving ropes and prison chains,
Like fears and rage and guilt and pains.
But then the lurid memories
Like waves from demon-laden seas
Broke savagely against the light
Of hope.

The lad had learned to fight
For garbage just to stay alive
Before he reached the age of five.
When he was nine he stabbed a man,
A beggar, just to have his pan,
Then threw up in the alley where
He ran to count the coins. He'd wear
A holy garment like a priest
When he was grown and rob the feast
And desecrate the holy meals.
And set the stage for his appeals
To lonely women in their grief,
Until they learned he was a thief,
And he escaped to Jericho.
He formed a group called Ganavo
And worked the wealthy routes until
The roads to Jericho were still,
And Roman legions searched the woods
And found him drunk among his goods.

The prosecutor's case was built
With ease. He bragged about his guilt,
And cursed his way from court to cross
Without remorse, as if the loss
Of his own soul to endless woe
Were sealed, and he would have it so.

But now his vicious mouth was still,
And something deep within his will,
Begotten by the quiet prayer
Of this reputed King, was there
As new and strange to wickedness
As orchards in the wilderness.
And from his lips there came a word
That none from him had ever heard.
He turned his head so he could see:
"Jesus, is there a hope for me?"

At first he feared the Lord was dead.
But then he lifted up his head
To see the fruit of his travail,
And softly spoke around the nail,
"Today with me in Paradise
You'll reign beside the feeble Christ."
And when he heard the Savior die,
He gave his agonizing cry:
"My God! My God! How can this be!
Why hast thou not forsaken me?"

And do we not this time of year
Repeat these words with godly fear,
And stand in awe of sovereign grace
That put a God in sinners' place,
And turned his head to hear our plea!
Who is a pardoning God like thee!

The awesome truth of candle three:
A sinner justified and free!

- John Piper