As we approach the Christmas season, we would do well to remember why Jesus actually came to earth.
Well obviously, to bring peace on earth, good will toward men, I mean, that’s what the angels said right?
This is an awesome story (I especially like Luke’s version), one we hold dearly as we put up our manger scenes each year and maybe even visit live nativities at local churches. But the version, as told in the gospels, isn’t the whole story.
While Jesus was being born in a manger, another dimension to the story was dramatically unfolding in the heavenly, spiritual realm. This part of the Christmas story is found in Revelation chapter twelve. There is only a short description of this piece of the story, but it is enough for us to realize that the arrival of Jesus was anything but a Silent Night. It actually was a declaration of war and apparently Satan knew this was the beginning of the end for him. So, he is portrayed as “standing before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth, he might devour her child” (Revelation 12:4).
Seriously? Why, I wonder, did I never hear this version in Sunday School as a child? Maybe because I would never have returned? By the way, I assure you I have never received a Christmas card with this scene depicted, wishing me a Very Merry Christmas.
Oh, and could we talk about angels for just a minute? My nativity, as do most, has a few angels in attendance just to make the whole scene very peaceful and, well, angelic. But my angels seem to be very docile, you know the type — Hallmark angels, if you will (nothing against Hallmark – no boycotting please).
Whatever they are, they certainly aren’t Bible angels. In the Bible, whenever a real Bible angel shows up in full angel regalia, humans fall on their face as though dead, until the angel speaks, “fear not” and then somehow, they can get up again. Honestly, it is difficult for us as mere mortals to imagine any creature as large, as powerful,
as terrible and as glorious as an angel. By the way, they are usually armed.
There is an account in 2 Kings 19 where a single angel took out the whole Assyrian army – 185,000 men.
A single angel! In a single night! Now, knowing what we know, let’s re-imagine the angels who might have actually been assigned to attend the birth of Jesus, knowing that Satan was looking to devour Jesus from day one. I can’t even fathom what they must have looked like. (If you want more realistic angels for your nativity, you will have to build your own!)
Ok, so why all this spiritual drama around Jesus birth? Because the world would never be the same. The Light had come into the world – the light that the darkness could not overcome. Philip Yancey calls the birth of Christ the Great Invasion, “a daring raid by the ruler of the forces of good into the universe’s seat of evil.”
The inaugural speech of Jesus’s public ministry is found in Luke 4. This, Jesus would explain, is why He came.
“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
Luke 4:18-19 (NASB)
Wow – Light into the darkness – The rescue had begun!
As Christ followers, we are all called to join in the mission of God – spreading the Gospel, bringing release to the captives, sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and proclaim God’s favor.
This pretty much describes the objectives of Priority One. As Area Directors, we live into this mission in various ways, but we are all singularly focused on men and the issues with which they wrestle.
At the top of that list in the Delaware Valley Area, is pornography and sexual brokenness. In the Delaware Valley, we have been paving a way for churches to address this area by introducing them to effective curriculum, facilitating groups, and organizing a networking organization where those leading the battle in their local churches can find support, equipping and encouragement.
Believe me, I didn’t choose these particular issues to be the focus of this ministry, but the need is so great and the struggle so real, they couldn’t easily be ignored.
Through your prayers and support, amazing doors have opened for this ministry, and in turn, doors are opening for men and their families as they experience the transformational power, hope and freedom that is the message of Christmas. Here are some of their stories. . .
“Since becoming involved with the Conquer Series, I have not only been completely clean
from all pornography for over three years, but it no longer has the pull on my life it once had.”
Another couple is stepping slowly through the difficult process of healing and recovery together and are finding incredible opportunities to provide support to other men and their wives as they learn a “new normal” together.
“When I started the Conquer Series, I did not understand the battle that viewing porn
creates in your mind and in your relationships. Participation in the series, has given me a better
understanding of the struggle, tools to make advances toward greater purity in my life,
and a great team of guys to walk with through the process.”
So, what’s next? There are new opportunities on the near horizon. I am in great need of prayer partners who will seriously cover this ministry in intercessory prayer. The warfare around this issue is great, even tangible at times. The enemy has securely held this ground in churches for well over fifty years. He’s not going quietly into the night now that he has been found out and a counterattack has been launched.
Please pray diligently for us – for the leaders, and for the men and their families wrestling through transformation and healing.
Along with your prayers, your financial support is always greatly appreciated – more than I can tell you,
so that we can expand the impact of what God is doing here.
Together, we can go into the New Year confident of victory, for “It was for freedom, that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord”