The rest of the story…

the restYesterday, we celebrated the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. I hope you had a wonderful day with friends and family!

We have made an effort over the past few weeks to focus on the true meaning of Christmas – to eliminate the holiday pressures and distractions and align our hearts with what matters. The Christmas story is powerful, miraculous and is the perfect example of God’s power, authority and love for us all. It should be shared. But I have realized that so often the part about WHY the birth of Jesus is important is left out, or skimmed over. We often discuss that Jesus is the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, the Son of David, but we forget to explain how and why He is our loving Savior – the whole reason for Him coming to earth.

Jesus, while fully human, was also fully God. He was perfect, never sinning throughout His life, yet he felt every emotion and temptation that we feel. Jesus lived His approximately 33 years on earth teaching the lost (which is now His Word), caring and performing miracles for those in need, and showing us what it means to “live like Christ.” Jesus perfectly fulfilled the role of the promised Savior.

When He was about 33, Jesus died on a cross for our sins. Our wonderful Savior who never did anything wrong, was hung on a cross to pay the penalty for something He didn’t do.

Why did the crucifixion occur? It had to, because we are sinners. While we may be “good people” with great intentions, every single person that has ever lived on this earth (except for Jesus) has sinned, and continues to do so.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23 (NIV)

The payment for those sins is death. Because we have disobeyed God, we deserve eternal death in a horrible place called hell.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NIV)

But then Jesus came. He loved us so much that He took the burden of our sin on His back. He came to earth and died a horrible, gruesome death, to save each and every person from the depths of hell. This is the perfect picture (or example) of grace.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

Three days after He died on that Roman Cross, He rose from the grave and ascended to the heavens. He is alive! However, this payment of our sins is not automatic.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” John 3:36 (NIV)

To receive eternal life in heaven, you must acknowledge that you are a sinner, repent (stop doing them) from those sins, believe that Jesus died on the cross to save you from the consequences of those sins, and accept Him into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior.

If you have not made this decision before, there’s no better time. Life is too short to wait another moment. The consequences of not following Jesus are far worse than anything you can imagine. Hell is a horrible place that you do not want to be for eternity (which is forever and ever). I would not wish that upon the worse person in this world. Today, I am begging you to make this decision. Not only will it change your eternal life, but it will also change your life on earth. Walking with Christ and following Jesus on a daily basis is the most rewarding experience you can imagine. He loves you, brings hope through trials and will never leave you.

If you are serious today about accepting Jesus to be the Lord of your life, say a prayer that is something close to this:

“God, I realize that I am a sinner and I need your forgiveness. I want to turn away from my past sinful life and turn toward you. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. I accept Christ as my personal Savior and I will do my best to live a life for you. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

If you have said those words (or close to it) and meant it in your heart, you are saved right where you are today. You have begun a new journey – a journey that will leave you forever changed.

We would love to hear about your salvation experience and talk with you more! We have many suggested resources that would be helpful and we can get you started on the right track to begin your walk with Christ. Please feel free to reach out to myself, Kelsey or Andi any time! We can’t wait to hear from you!!! If the post today has left you with questions you would like answered, please also reach out to us! No question is a stupid question!

My favorite verse this holiday season is John 5:11:

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” John 5: 11 (NIV)

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Artwork Credit: Elle & Company. (She gives great iPhone and desktop wallpaper graphics from time to time. Check them out!)

Knowing that the celebrated baby lying in the manger came to give me (and you!) eternal life with Jesus in the pearly gates of heaven makes Christmas a little extra special.