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Let Every Day Be Christmas 2017

       This really is a great time of year, of course. Regardless of whether one is a practicing Christian or not, people in general have a greater tendency to appropriate the spirit of Christmas during the holiday season. Most are nicer to one another and more accommodating. Many live out the Golden Rule by visiting friends and relatives, engaging in quality fellowship and family time, smiling a little brighter, giving gifts, helping others, and loving one another.

         In other words, we all generally do as the Lord Jesus taught us to do. Though it is not really His birthday, we celebrate it at this time and it makes all the difference.

         After the holidays, however, most people go back to their regular lives of disobedience and indifference toward God. There is a quick return to doing things our way, living our way, sinning our way, demanding our way, hating our way, and forgetting all about the wonder of Christmas.

      This means Christmas is merely a time to briefly touch upon the reality of human existence and the answers and gifts each of us has for each other. It is a faux construct revealing the truth of how most of us wish it could be but will never be. It is a time to celebrate the mere idea of the Christmas message. It is a time when people doing good things is culturally legal, where one’s good heart blends with everyone’s and brings no personal disdain as a do-gooder or clueless nice guy. People set aside their prejudices and hatred because the pressure’s off. We get a lift from giving. Joy is allowed a place in our hearts. Those who rarely smile grin a little.

      But it is all only temporary. The New Year will bring a return to the rat race and justifiable lying, cheating, and slander. Bad attitudes are only placed on hold during the Christmas season. People do not actually repent. People do not actually embrace the Lord and obey His teachings. As wonderful as it all is, Christmastime is an aberration.

         Why can’t we live out the spirit of Christmas all year long? Some of the reasons are as follows:

(1) It would no longer be a special once-a-year season.

(2) Too much work! (Decorating, shopping, entertaining, family—Yikes!)

(3) People cannot fake love for that long.

         The real reason?

       Most people refuse to make the giant leap toward real repentance and living a spiritually-disciplined lifestyle. Most people cannot conceive of possessing an inner joy all year long. Most people do not know the Lord Jesus and do not want to know Him. And this includes most “Christians.”

         It is far easier to obey one’s will than His will.

         It is far easier to be deceived than know the truth.

        I recently stated in the comments section of this blog that most churches would never allow the Lord Jesus to be in charge of their operations. This also holds true for most of us who say we are Christians. But for those fellowship groups who would agree to let the Lord be the boss, let 2018 be the year we accomplish this at a higher and faster rate, and to a greater degree. Let real Christians do the same. Let us truly love one another, help each other, and see about one another. And let it last all year long.

         My hope this Christmas is that it will continue being Christmas. Keep buying gifts and giving gifts. Keep entertaining and blessing others. Keep the wonder and the happiness and the love. Make your heavenly Father proud. Indeed, make Him cry tears of joy. Move His heart with your attention to His curriculum and course of personal conduct. Make Him pleased with your discipleship. Honor Him as your Lord and Savior who stopped at nothing to bring you abundant life. Love Him with all your heart and love one another as you love yourself.

      Be blessed this Christmas. Be very, very blessed. Remember the One who made it possible. Thanks to all of you who have read my articles, commented on them, and passed them on to others. I especially want to thank those of you who have subscribed and allowed me to send out my email updates. You have all been a great blessing!

        It is my belief that 2018 will be a pivotal year in many respects, but mostly as a year when an even greater number of real believers will be born into the kingdom, when many Christians will rededicate their lives, when many more solid groups, spiritual communities, and fellowships will be formed, and when the Lord’s people become even greater salt and light for such a time as this.

         It is impossible to lose when on the Lord’s side. Allow the wonder of Christmas to stay in your heart all year long. May we all be real and may we all keep loving.

         And may we all have a Merry Christmas.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

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Let Every Day Be Christmas 2015

         This really is a great time of year, of course. Regardless of whether one is a practicing Christian or not, people in general have a greater tendency to appropriate the spirit of Christmas during the holiday season. Most are nicer to one another and more accommodating. Many live out the Golden Rule by visiting friends and relatives, engaging in quality fellowship and family time, smiling a little brighter, giving gifts, helping others, and loving one another.

         In other words, we all generally do as the Lord Jesus taught us to do. Though it is not really His birthday, we celebrate it at this time and it makes all the difference.

         After the holidays, however, most people go back to their regular lives of disobedience and indifference toward God. There is a quick return to doing things our way, living our way, sinning our way, demanding our way, hating our way, and forgetting all about the wonder of Christmas.

         This means Christmas is merely a time to briefly touch upon the reality of human existence and the answers and gifts each of us has for each other. It is a faux construct revealing the truth of how most of us wish it could be but will never be. It is a time to celebrate the mere idea of the Christmas message. It is a time when people doing good things is culturally legal, where one’s good heart blends with everyone’s and brings no personal disdain as a do-gooder or clueless nice guy. People set aside their prejudices and hatred because the pressure’s off. We get a lift from giving. Joy is allowed a place in our hearts. Those who rarely smile grin a little.

         But it is all only temporary. The New Year will bring a return to the rat race and justifiable lying, cheating, and slander. Bad attitudes are only placed on hold during the Christmas season. People do not actually repent. People do not actually embrace the Lord and obey His teachings. As wonderful as it all is, Christmastime is an aberration.

         Why can’t we live out the spirit of Christmas all year long? Some of the reasons are as follows:

(1) It would no longer be a special once-a-year season.

(2) Too much work! (Decorating, shopping, entertaining, family—Yikes!)

(3) People cannot fake love for that long.

         The real reason?

         Most people refuse to make the giant leap toward real repentance and living a spiritually-disciplined lifestyle. Most people cannot conceive of possessing an inner joy all year long. Most people do not know the Lord Jesus and do not want to know Him. And this includes most “Christians.”

         It is far easier to obey one’s will than His will.

         It is far easier to be deceived than know the truth.

         I recently stated in the comments section of this blog that most churches would never allow the Lord Jesus to be in charge of their operations. This also holds true for most of us who say we are Christians. But for those fellowship groups who would agree to let the Lord be the boss, let 2016 be the year we accomplish this at a higher and faster rate, and to a greater degree. Let real Christians do the same. Let us truly love one another, help each other, and see about one another. And let it last all year long.

         My hope this Christmas is that it will continue being Christmas. Keep buying gifts and giving gifts. Keep entertaining and blessing others. Keep the wonder and the happiness and the love. Make your heavenly Father proud. Indeed, make Him cry tears of joy. Move His heart with your attention to His curriculum and course of personal conduct. Make Him pleased with your discipleship. Honor Him as your Lord and Savior who stopped at nothing to bring you abundant life. Love Him with all your heart and love one another as you love yourself.

         Be blessed this Christmas. Be very, very blessed. Remember the One who made it possible. Thanks to all of you who have read my articles, commented on them, and passed them on to others. I especially want to thank those of you who have subscribed and allowed me to send out my email updates. You have all been a great blessing!

         It is my belief that 2016 will be a pivotal year in many respects, but mostly as a year when an even greater number of real believers will be born into the kingdom, when many Christians will rededicate their lives, when many more solid groups, spiritually communities, and fellowships will be formed, and when the Lord’s people become even greater salt and light for such a time as this.

         It is impossible to lose when on the Lord’s side. Allow the wonder of Christmas to stay in your heart all year long. May we all be real and may we all keep loving.

         And may we all have a Merry Christmas.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.   

 

The Greatest Love

        If a real Christian has anything at all, he or she has a backbone, and will never back down.

         Why would a person surrender their very life in exchange for a belief? Why is a belief more important than one’s life? The law of self-preservation dictates that above all things we must protect and defend our greatest possession—our life—against any attack or threat of attack. Yet, real Christians have historically chosen to choose death rather than choose to discard something they believe in.

         There must be something more to Christian belief.

         If a parent is given a choice to lay down his life or substitute the life of his child, what should be the proper choice? Is it somehow more moral or socially acceptable to choose one over the other? The answer exists in the simple fact that many parents (I would hope every parent), would choose to die and allow their child to live because it is both the obviously correct choice and they would not be able to live with themselves if they chose otherwise. Even though they could protect their life, their life afterwards would no longer be worth living.

         And this is the crux of the distinction: One’s life can be devalued and even greatly devalued by making such incorrect choices. Why? Because healthy, sane people have a conscience, and one’s conscience will put forth a prompt reminder than one has chosen incorrectly.

         Otherwise, human beings could do whatever sinister thing they may wish and never be bothered by the choice they made. In the natural world, for example, animals make choices that often have bad consequences according to the moral beliefs of humans, but the animals that make the choices don’t seem to be bothered by them. If a wild animal, for example, attacks and injures a child, the wild animal probably has no moral conscience regarding the act, does not get depressed by the act, and will likely repeat the act. This can possibly be attributed to instinct or hunger, but the animal’s choice nevertheless causes an injury to a helpless child, and this cannot be construed as a good thing. So we often deem animals as innocent, in that they don’t know any better, but human animals are a different story.

         Therefore, for those who have a conscience in good working order, it will override mere self-preservation, especially when it comes to one’s offspring. Using the natural world as an example once again, even wild animals will protect their offspring with their lives. Many an animal mother will protect her young using whatever extreme measures she deems necessary, and becomes decidedly ferocious in those instances.

         But what is in the conscience of a real Christian that causes him to give up his life rather than surrender his beliefs? It is not so much about giving up his beliefs as it is turning his back on his best friend. The Lord Jesus claimed,

         “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13]

         The word “friends” in this usage indicates the most dearly beloved in one’s life. But the absolute most dearly beloved of all people in the life of a real Christian is His Lord and Savior—the One who purchased his life—and the One who first gave His own life to save the ones He considered His most beloved. This is why a real Christian could never surrender his beliefs, because it also means betraying the One who loves him the most.

         What good is life without the One who made life possible? For example, the person who betrayed the Lord to those religious authorities who intended to murder Him had been deceived into thinking he was doing the right thing. He did not know his act of betrayal would result in the Lord’s death. In fact, Satan had possessed this man and essentially blinded him and animated him to act against his conscience. And even though we know Judas was a thief, he still had a conscience in good working order, because after his diabolical act, after the devil went out from him, after clear thinking returned, and after he saw what he caused, he immediately killed himself. There was no way he could live with the knowledge on his conscience of what he had done. His life was no longer worth living. It had become greatly cheapened by his terrible choice. Self-preservation went out the window and the only salve for his horror was the opposite.

         This knowledge should cause a person to immediately reflect on the great love of the Lord, in that though our conscience does the same thing to us when we sin, and though we deserve all that Judas got in the end, 

         THE LORD FORGIVES US AND SILENCES OUR CONSCIENCE—OUR CONSCIENCE IS APPEASED BECAUSE A SACRIFICE HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE.

         We don’t have to run out and find a tree and a rope, because the Lord had already appropriated a cross!

         The Lord Jesus allowed to have happen to Himself what Judas did to himself, and what we should each receive for ourselves. Our conscience convicts us as guilty, but through an act of legitimate repentance on our part, we display a contrite heart and express sorrow for our sin. We hate what we did and never want to do it again. And through this act of knowing we did wrong and being remorseful for it, and because God will not despise a broken and contrite heart, [1] our sin can be washed away by the miraculous cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb.

         Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. [Hebrews 7:25]

         The Lamb of God, through His incredible love and forgiveness, actually acts as a defense attorney on our behalf!

         What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. [Romans 8:31-34] [2]

         This is why so many persecuted Christians the world over always choose to die rather than surrender their beliefs. They know they are loved by God, and they love Him—with all of their heart. He proved His love by giving His life. They prove their love by doing the same.

         And it is not as if they are purposely trying to prove their love, as if they had an agenda to display to the world. No, it is simply because Jesus first showed His greatest love for them while they were yet sinners, and He pursued them, and gave His heart to them, and won their hearts, and they loved Him in return with the greatest love and gave their hearts to Him also, and could not possibly do otherwise.

         Real Christians would never recant in a million years. They would never turn away from their faith because they would never turn away from their Lord. His life is infinitely more important than their own and they always choose to lay down their own life for His.

         The greatest love is funny that way.  

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Psalm 51:17

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.