Friday, December 4, 2015

He Comes to Make His Blessings Flow

We live in a messed-up world, don’t we?  It’s hard to really decide what world problem to be most concerned about.  Obviously, there’s the worldwide threat of terrorism. There’s the devastation of civil war in places like Syria, Ukraine, and South Sudan.  In our own country, there’s a loss of Christian identity, as the Church and the Gospel we believe in seem to fade further from public consciousness with each passing day.  There’s racial inequality and justice for the unborn; there’s the spread of diseases like Alzheimer’s as our parents and grandparents get older, with no cure in sight, and also diseases like cancer and AIDS that afflict all ages.  But one Christian decided he knew exactly what to be most upset about.  He found out that Starbucks was releasing their annual holiday cups, and this year, they would simply be bright red, with no traditional Christmas symbols on them, like reindeer or snowflakes.  He released a video on social media that went viral.  He said this was yet another sign of the persecution of Christians in our culture.  Really.  So first, I have two things: One, it’s ridiculous for us to expect a for-profit business like Starbucks to proclaim the glory of Jesus. That’s our job.  Second, reindeer and snowflakes and Christmas trees have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus or the Gospel He brought us.  And next, I want to steal a thought from John Ortberg: Imagine this gentleman standing in judgment before Jesus Christ, and seeing the Lord celebrating all the people throughout history who have paid the highest price for His cause: He’ll see Stephen, who was stoned to death, and Peter, who was crucified upside down, and Polycarp, who was burned alive, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged by the Nazis, and Jim Elliot, who was speared to death by the very people he came to share the Gospel with, whose killers later came to know Christ through the witness of his wife.  Not to mention all the untold numbers of other martyrs, including 21st century Christians from the Middle East who were beheaded for their faith.  Can you imagine him stepping forward and saying, “Hey, you guys think you had it bad?  I had to drink overpriced coffee in a cup with no reindeers or snowflakes.” I don’t think so. 

The Horror!!!

But there is one positive thing about that ridiculous anger.  It reflects something that is true.  We know that a King is coming; a King who will rule forever with justice and righteousness.  We know His name is Jesus.  And we know that when He claims His throne, He will be unchallenged.  And at that time, Philippians 2 will be proven true: Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.  We’re kind of in a hurry to see that happen.  So what kind of world will that be, when Jesus is once and for all King?  As we continue to look at Isaiah 11 this Sunday, verses 6-9 will give us a glimpse of what we have ahead of us.

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