Who He Is

Who He Is

By Vasko Kohlmayer

Some two thousand years ago, the man whose birthday we celebrate during this season was walking with his disciples through a region which is today known as the Golan Heights.  As they were making their way through those hilly parts, Jesus turned to his companions and asked, “Who do people say that I am?”

The disciples told him that many ideas circulated as to his identity: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Things have not changed much in the intervening two millennia.  Today, as then, people hold many notions about who Jesus was.  Some say that he was a great moral teacher, others that he was a bold social reformer.  Still others claim that he was a wise man or a charismatic leader.  If you asked ten different people, it is quite possible that you would get ten different answers.
To get at the truth, we can do no better than to go to the ultimate source and authority on Jesus’s life.  None of the statements below is a conjecture or a fanciful invention; they all come straight from the Word.
What follows is the Jesus of the Bible.
***
He was from the beginning.  He was with God, and He is God.  He is the firstborn over creation, and in Him the fullness of God dwells.
All things were created by Him and for Him.  He laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of His hands.  Without Him, nothing was made that has been made.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He upholds the universe by the word of His power.  It is through Him that we exist.  He is the mystery of God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ.
In the fullness of time, God sent Him to be the Savior of the world.  He came to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
He was made flesh and dwelt among people.  Full of grace and truth, He was the image of the invisible God and the exact representation of His being.
Born in the likeness of man, He took upon Himself the form of a servant.  He became poor so that we may become rich.
The radiance of God’s glory, He walked in love and compassion.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.
Meek and gentle, He was treated harshly, yet He did not protest.  Despised and forsaken, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  Though He was tempted as we are, He did not sin.
He came to deliver those who through fear of death were all their lives subject to bondage.  He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even the death of the cross.  He assumed human form to mediate between God and men.
He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.  He bore our trespasses in His body and washed our sins with His own blood.
He was made a curse so that we could be made right with God.  He was raised for our justification.  It is by His wounds that we are healed.  It is He who brings us back to God.
Manifested in the flesh, He was justified in the spirit.  Having been buried, He was raised on the third day.  He ascended on high and led captivity captive.
To those who receive Him He gave the right to become children of God.  Whoever calls upon His name shall be saved, and whoever believes in Him has eternal life.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name by which men may be saved.  He is the way, and the truth, and the life.
This is how God showed His love for us: He sent His one and only Son that we might live through him.  For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  He guides the meek and teaches them His ways.  Exalted of God, in Him is the mystery of godliness.
He will judge the living and the dead, and every knee shall bow down before Him.  He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and expose the motives of men’s hearts.  He will gather the wheat into his garner and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.
But to those who thirst, He shall give from the spring of the water of life, for He is full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  He who believes in Him shall live.
He is the bright morning star.  Crowned with glory and honor, He holds all authority in heaven and on earth.  It is through Him that God brings everything back to Himself.  It is through Him that God speaks to us.
The first begotten of the dead, He is the heir of all things.  He is the light, and the darkness has not overcome him.  He is the prince of peace and the bread of life.  His love surpasses all knowledge.  He is the life of men.
His throne will last forever, and His days will never end.  Righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom.
He is the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
He fills everything in every way.  He is the Almighty One.
He who has ears, let him hear.  Let those who are wise understand, for these things have been written that we may believe and, by believing, have life in His name.

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Each Christmas Gets Better

Each Christmas Gets Better

December 23rd, 2010

Tom Purcell, FloydReports.com

I still wish I hadn’t peeked in the attic that year.

It was Christmas 1972 and I was 10. It was the first year when I no longer believed in Santa Claus.

Until that point, Christmas had been a magical time for me.

A few weeks after Thanksgiving, I would join with my father to pick out our tree. He’d wear his rattiest coat and work his mastery on the helpless Christmas-tree guy to knock the price down two or three bucks.

Soon, my father and I would have our giant platform in place and the tree perfectly positioned. We’d string the lights — thick old bulbs that burned fingers when touched — and head to the attic to bring down boxes of Christmas decorations.

My sisters would be called and our whole family would decorate the tree. As our stack of scratchy old Christmas records would play — as Mitch Miller, Bing Crosby and the Chipmunks would sing — our mother would make special note of old ornaments handed down from family members long gone and my sisters would show me how to hang the tinsel expertly, one strand at a time.

The sun soon would go down and the light of our Christmas-tree bulbs reflecting off the tinsel would transform our living room into a kaleidoscope — a brilliant glow of colors dancing on the walls and ceiling.

My mother, a master at building up suspense, would talk about the days ahead — church, family and the gifts Santa might bring.

We would have the sense that a real event was about to happen. And it was….

Read more.

Merry Christmas…without the ‘X’

Merry Christmas…without the ‘X’

By Peter
Heck

 

‘Tis the season for the atheist/humanist crowd to make fools of
themselves.  As millions of Americans celebrate Christmas, the American Humanist
Association is in the midst of their annual membership drive punctuated by
smart-aleck billboards and city bus placards that mock the existence of moral
authority and belittle faith in Christ.
Two years ago, their motto was “Why believe in a god?  Just be good for
goodness’ sake!”  Last year, they were more direct: “No god?  No problem!”  But
this year, as they feebly attempt to detract from the celebration of Christ’s
incarnation once again, perhaps it’s a fruitful exercise for our civilization to
consider their overtures and weigh the merit of their message.
As far as I can tell, the mantra “No god?  No problem!” has but one minor
flaw: the entire record of human history.  It is no coincidence that as German
atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche boasted, “God is dead … we have killed
him … must we not ourselves become gods[?]” (which, by the way, is the entire
basis of humanism dating back to the Garden of Eden), he simultaneously
predicted that the 20th century would be the most murderous in human
history.
That Nietzsche was right is actually of secondary importance.  Most
significant is the apparent recognition Nietzsche had that man, left with no
moral authority beyond his own impulses and passions, would devolve into
self-destruction.
Indeed, the banner slogan of “No god?  No problem!” could hang poignantly
over the ovens of Auschwitz, the killing fields of Cambodia, and the trash bins
of Planned Parenthood.
Though it might be more difficult to squeeze onto a billboard, the American
Humanist Association needs to correct its jingle to convey the more accurate
message: “No God?  No problem…except the one that even the greatest atheist
thinkers have recognized: when a belief in God dies, man dies.”
Moreover, the phrase “be good for goodness’ sake” is meaningless unless we
can define what “goodness” is.  For the believer, that is a relatively easy
question to answer.  Goodness is measured by the extent to which man’s behavior
conforms to the character and the will of his Creator.  That is why the
Christian believes the Bible is an irreplaceable component of human existence —
its revelation serves to guide us towards that divine will.
But the atheist/humanist has no such moral center…no fixed point of
reference.  Such people may talk at length about the need to be “good,” but in
the final analysis, their presuppositions fundamentally reject any concrete
basis for morality.
That is not to say that anyone who is atheist or humanist is a murderous
butcher ready to pounce.  Certainly there are a great number of nonbelievers who
are benevolent, caring, and kind.  But while the atheist points to these
upstanding godless citizens as proof of the theory that you can be good simply
for goodness’ sake, he conveniently ignores the cultural foundations that taught
those individuals good from bad.
As columnist Jeff Jacoby observed,
“[i]n our culture, even the most passionate atheist cannot help having been
influenced by the Judeo-Christian worldview that shaped Western civilization.”
Put another way, the American atheist who boldly touts his morality and decency
is humorously doing so only by appealing to the very Christian ethic he seeks to
denounce.
Though this conclusion is inescapable, the pride inherent in humanist
thought forbids them from admitting it.  Consequently, we are persistently
treated to their vapid musings that one must choose between religion and
reason.
But suggesting that reason alone is sufficient to direct behavior is
intellectually dishonest.  Human reason will always be guided by
presuppositions.  That is why civilizations like ancient Rome found it
reasonable to murder handicapped children while we in the Western world find
that abominable.
Jacoby noted that Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger wrote, “‘We drown
even children who at birth are weakly and abnormal,’ … stressing that ‘it is
not anger but reason'” that provides justification for such an act.  This
horrific practice is the result of reason built upon a godless foundation.  In
contrast, American civilization bears the fruits of reason based on a Christian
ethic that teaches submission and obedience to a transcendent moral
authority.
That fact alone should cause the atheist to pause as he taunts believers
with signs proclaiming “Merry X-mas.”  Creating a Christ-less holiday season may
seem like a worthy cause until you realize where it leads.  Civilizations torn
free from the moorings of moral authority are not the kind anyone would want to
live in…not even a fervent atheist.
Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk
show host in central Indiana.  E-mail
peter@peterheck.com
or visit
www.peterheck.com.

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