Sunday, December 30, 2012

JRAM Declaration Theme for 2013

The Scriptures are filled with many declarations. Jesus shouted, "It is finished" before He died signifying the completion of His sacrifice as the Lamb of God. Then He declared that He will come back again in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Here are declarations that we believe and lived by. Thus the Jesus Rock of Ages Ministries also have a declaration theme for 2013, “Greater Things Have Yet To Come.”

It is coupled with a Scriptural declaration taken from Joshua 3:5 (ESV) exhorting the nation of Israel to, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you." One key to attaining this to fruition is to consecrate our lives to see God’s greater things. The person in the image that represents each one of us is shouting from the mountaintop this declaration. Thus, we are but echoing what Jesus told His people would do, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 ESV).

We believe therefore we speak that 2013 would be a year for “Greater Things Yet to Come.” Get ready JRAM congregations…..

Friday, December 21, 2012

What will you do on December 25th?

Christmas is celebrated and enjoyed not just by adherents of Christianity but even those that are outside of it. There is something unique about it that many are enthralled by its significance. While for us, Christian believers, it is about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Let us set aside for a moment the many controversies about celebrating it during wintertime but focus instead of its value to us: the coming of the Immanuel, “God with us” our Savior, in human form.

What are expected of us as Christian believers in relation to Christmas? How should we celebrate it? I believe that there are many great things about it that we need to emphasize: the miracle of the Virgin birth; the promise fulfilled in sending the Savior of the world; God’s love for humanity; and many others worthy of note. While other religions celebrate their faith through their own holidays with such gusto, unfortunately, it is not the same with Christians on some levels. I do not intend to offend but to awaken many of us to the fact that Christmas is a Christian celebration. Sadly, it is being hijacked by secular observance of materialism; other symbols used, whether intentionally or unintentionally, draw away from Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas celebration.

I believe that we as Christians must begin to place great value on celebrating Christmas whenever it comes. Remember that there is a war against it and we are not exempt from the attacks of relegating it as an ordinary celebration. In addition, there are Christians who cannot celebrate it openly due to religious persecution. Even the “Merry Christmas” greeting is being labeled offensive by many sectors.

I would like to appeal to many Christians to set aside Christmas day, December 25th, as high priority for a witness to the world of its importance to us by simply attending a Christmas Day service wherever you are during this time with other Christian believers whenever possible and not to miss it for any other reason. Although many will argue that it can be celebrated on our own in the privacy of our homes with our families, however, in my opinion, it is very important for all Christians to make a public profession of our faith and to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior especially on Christmas Day.

Just observe how many celebrates their birthdays as important milestones. How much more that Christmas affects not just Christians but many people all over the world. Isn’t this something to look forward to and to share why Jesus came to this world? He did not bring any gifts but He became the greatest gift as the Savior of the world.

C’mon Christians of the world, December 25th is one of the two major significant day of our calendar, the other, Easter. Come out and show the world that we are proud of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The angelic host announced His coming and it is now our turn to announce that He came. Let’s celebrate it while we can do so openly. Would there be a time that we can’t? I hope not.

Christmas day comes only once a year; therefore, let’s not miss the opportunity of celebrating it with other believers in our community. Go to your local church or find a church to attend a Christmas service on December 25th whether you’re at home or on vacation. There’s no other reason worthy enough to miss attending a Christmas Day service to commemorate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

As for my family, and myself, we will be counted present among other believers who will choose to attend a Christmas day service to honor Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. How about you and your family, where will you be on Christmas Day?

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why the World WILL NOT End on December 21, 2012…

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Blessings

Time flies and Christmas is here again. Although there is a huge contrast in celebrating Christmas here in Canada and the Philippines, nonetheless, the reason is the same: Jesus coming to the world 2,000 years ago. This is the main reason that we should celebrate it in the first place: He came. And to fully understand its significance to humanity, we should go back to the beginning of its origin. Why do we celebrate Christmas? Is it a time to indulge in shopping extravaganza?  Is it just to buy and exchange gifts? Another holiday excuse to rest and take the time off? Unfortunately, this is what transpires in celebrating Christmas every year. However, we should aim to consider the main focus of it all, i.e., Christianity has Christmas in order to celebrate the coming of Jesus the Savior in this world.

Historically, Christmas was done to become an alternative to a pagan holiday coinciding during winter season and it was an intention well thought of. Every aspect of this pagan holiday was altered to reflect the greater meaning of Christmas. On the other hand, the early church in the New Testament does not celebrate Christmas or the birthday of Jesus but instead his death, burial and resurrection. But no matter what the reason maybe, we have it, thus, Christmas must become an opportunity for hope and love to abound. Also, this is the time that families get together; generosity becomes the norm of the season; friends celebrate to enjoy each other’s company. Altogether, there is something about Christmas that anyone wants to be part of.  There is probably the negative side of being stressed on what to buy and what to give our loved ones and friends. But I think (and I maybe wrong!) this is one way of celebrating Christmas fun and enjoyable? How to avoid stress? Just go out there and give what you believe will be acceptable as the best gift in your own opinion. (A special note to those who will receive, don’t criticize what you will get. Just express your gratitude towards the giver and smile when you open the gift and enjoy it just the same as the giver hopes that you will do).

What makes Christmas such an important holiday for Christians? When you come to take a hard look at it’s meaning, you will find that humility is at the core that made it all happen. Humility was the key attitude of the first Christmas characters. When greeted by the angel Gabriel and told of the news of her pregnancy through the Holy Spirit, Mary’s immediate action was fear yet she was assured as recorded in Luke 1:30-33; 38, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Her reply was, "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said…"(NIV) Even Joseph, Mary’s fiancĂ© after hearing her pregnancy initially decided to break off their engagement but was visited by an angel in his dream explaining God’s plan and upon understanding it withdrew his plan. His next action and immediate response was definite and calculated as described in Matthew 1:24, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” (NIV)

But the most important action was done by Jesus above all as described in Phil 2:5-8, ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself.” NIV

Humility is setting aside what you believe by allowing God to change your aspiration towards His desire for your life. Therefore, humility is at the core of Christmas. It was the foundational principle of this season and all Christmas blessings we enjoy today emanated from this attitude. In the 21st century, how are we going to apply humility? The answer is clear; adopting a mind-set of humility will clarify our intentions in all our activities. It is the intention of being a blessing this Christmas.  It must become the hallmark of our actions. And to bless others must be the firm resolution of those who are able to do so. Mary, Joseph and Jesus became the Christmas blessings for humanity when they humbled themselves to obey God’s plan. 

What then will be your Christmas blessing to others this Christmas? You need to think for a while and come up with a list. It should be intentional not incidental blessings. If you are looking for an opportunity to genuinely bless and become a blessing to others, Christmas is an excellent occasion to begin. Merry Christmas to all!

Let’s talk again!