The Ransom Note

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“We collapse in the dust,
    lying face down in the dirt.
26 Rise up! Help us!
    Ransom us because of your unfailing love.”

Psalm 44:25-26, NLT

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45

“God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.”

1 Peter 1:20

I think that God has more or less ransacked the human language in His effort to get through to us the critical nature of what exactly has been done just for us. When it comes to our salvation and what that means to the universe, the word, “ransom” is used.

The connection for us, as we consider the implications, has mainly a connection with the crime of “kidnapping.” This is when someone is captured by other men, and held in captivity until certain terms are met. When the kidnapper feels his needs are fully met, then the hostage is released.

In the Bible sense, we should work through several verses. There are at least three Hebrew words. In the N.T. Greek just a single word to explain “ransom” is seen. And yet we can say, each word is linked back to the idea of being “helpless.” And helpless is far more than a definition, rather it is a description of a “state of being.”

We come to understand that helplessness is the natural state of human beings. We each have been captured, taken away and are being held, until terms are met for our release. I suppose that some see this helplessness easier than others. (And I’m sure a few will never acknowledge it at all). But nevertheless, it is real and it describes every single person that has ever lived.

Being completely helpless is hardly a situation we would ever choose. Having ransom demands being made to set us free is mostly awkward. And it’s an affront. Perhaps, we feel we are worth more? But the issues here are eternal, and currency concepts are never the consideration.

But there is a present need, to purchase back those who are being held as captives. The absolute clear position is that the Lord Jesus Christ, died in our place. Choosing to die for us, he was essentially tortured before his cruel death. In this decision, he himself paid my ransom. In doing this, I was set free and fully able to return home.

There are many who have been free. But there is a thing called “the Stockholm Syndrome.” This refers to those in captivity who somehow “connect” with their kidnappers through a prolonged captivity. This is to the point where they begin to act less than the victims, and more like the captor. It is confusing. They seem to go out of their way to act “pro-kidnapper”. This can get very disturbing.

We must look to our children, and closest family and our friends. They are toiling for Satan, the captor of our souls (past-tense). Many different tactics are being used– depression, addictions, lust, greed, anger, gluttony, pride, guilt and many other deceitful things. They are being held, until faith (the key) “springs” them out of their prison.

Thank you Jesus, for coming to free us. Thank you for forgiving us. We have been released, and now walk away free. You died, so we might live. We desperately want to see the others we love set free.

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ybic, Bryan

 

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Tiny Little Giftlets

 

51+IynkoiCL._SX425_He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.    –Augustine

There were many who saw the babe, but did not see the salvation.    –Author Unknown

For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all; No palace too great, no cottage too small.    –Phillips Brooks

Rejoice, that the immortal God is born, so that mortal man may live in eternity.    –John Hus

His poverty was so great that He was born in another man’s house, and buried in another man’s tomb.    –John Boys

It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the most profound unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. God became man; Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the incarnation.   –J.I. Packer

Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.  –Corrie Ten Boom

The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation.   — J.I. Packer

There were only a few shepherds at the first Bethlehem. The ox and the donkey treeunderstood more of the first Christmas than the high priests in Jerusalem. And it is the same today.    –Thomas Merton

Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts, the gift of God to man – His unspeakable gift of His Son, and the gift of man to God – when we present our bodies a living sacrifice.    –Vance Havner

The idea that there’s a force of love and logic behind the universe is overwhelming to start with, if you believe it. Actually, maybe even far-fetched to start with, but the idea that that same love and logic would choose to describe itself as a baby born in shit and straw and poverty is genius, and brings me to my knees, literally. To me, as a poet, I am just in awe of that. It makes some sort of poetic sense. It’s the thing that makes me a believer, though it didn’t dawn on me for many years.    –Bono

The central miracle asserted by Christians is the incarnation. They say that God became man.   — C.S. Lewis

Infinite, and an infant. Eternal, and yet born of a woman. Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman’s breast. Supporting a universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms. King of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph. Heir of all things, and yet the carpenter’s despised son.   –Charles Spurgeon

Carols stir us. Holy words inspire us. The golden glow from the manger warms us. A little religion at Christmas is fine. But that glow in the manger comes from the Light of the world. It exposes evil and either redeems it or destroys it. The babe in the manger is far more than an object for sentimental sighs. He is the Son of God who must be accepted as ruler – or confronted as rival.   –John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

The universal joy of Christmas is certainly wonderful. We ring the bells when princes are born, or toll a mournful dirge when great men pass away. Nations have their red-letter days, their carnivals and festivals, but once in the year and only once, the whole world stands still to celebrate the advent of a life. Only Jesus of Nazareth claims this world-wide, undying remembrance. You cannot cut Christmas out of the Calendar, nor out of the heart of the world.  Anonymous

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.   –Charles Dickens

Christmas is for children. But it is for grown-ups too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and a nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chilled hidebound hearts.   –Lenora Mattingly Weber

Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the new-born king.”
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.!   –Charles Wesley

This Gospel anticipates a world far different from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, where it is “always winter, and never Christmas.” The promise of the Gospel is that it is “always Christmas.”  To be “in Christ” is to enjoy each morning as a Christmas morning with the family of God, celebrating the gift of God around the tree of life.   –Kevin VanHoozer

The spirit of Christmas needs to be superseded by the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a human product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine person. That makes all the difference in the world.   –Stuart Briscoe

Here’s a side to the Christmas story that isn’t often told: Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant’s head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear. Jesus was born to die.    –John MacArthur

There is no connection between the worship of idols and the use of Christmas trees. We should not be anxious about baseless arguments against Christmas decorations. Rather, we should be focused on the Christ of Christmas and giving all diligence to remembering the real reason for the season.   –John MacArthur

Quotes from CrossQuotes.org under the topic, “Christmas.”

ybic, Bryan

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The Tree is Speaking

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There is so much I would like to share with you.  Christmas Day is here (finally), and we celebrate that God has reached out to us through His Son.  Jesus is fully and completely like us, and yet He is fully God.  It was arranged for this Son to grow up and then die in place of us.  The image was that of the Jewish festival of a lamb dying to pay for the sins of a family.

I could say much on this, but if you will commit to finding out about this yourself,  God will give you as much as you can handle.  I would suggest starting with the Gospel of John.  Don’t let others decide for you.  Find out for yourself, after all eternity is a long time.  The decisions you make are vast and significant.

Please, contact me if you think that might help.  No religious goofiness, but a sounding board as you sort things out.  Joy, and the joy of forgiveness are very close to you. I’m at flash99603@hotmail.com.