Maybe you've pulled a Christmas card with the word "Immanuel" emblazoned with glitter on the front.
Jesus Christ painted vivid pictures of His spiritual Kingdom that His believers belong to as He taught the crowds of people during His time on earth. But as people came to understand what it was like to call on Christ as their own King, they began to have questions about their responsibilities and allegiances to their earthly kings and authorities. Do followers of Jesus Christ continue to have obligations to the earthly authorities over us on this earth? Are we free from any obligation? Do we have to choose one kingdom or the other? Jesus affirmed that yes,
One observation I've picked up from raising three young boys is that nothing is a more tempting target of destruction than a standing tower of blocks! The five-year-old spends 10 minutes painstakingly stacks the wooden cubes in a precarious tower, and the three-year-old gleefully swats the tower down. The irritated older child tells the younger demolisher to go build his own tower, but the three-year-old isn't able to build his own tower.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24
You've probably heard a lot of outrageous claims about products before. "One formula removes every stain!" "Best television show of the decade!" "Never experience bad breath again!" "This product changed my life!" We hear outrageous claims so often we desensitize ourselves to all sorts of advertising and promises, because so few of them hold up to their promises.
Jesus Christ added humanity to himself 2,000 years ago, as he descended into our midst to establish his kingdom — a kingdom in which "he has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13,14). This kingdom wasn't the kind of kingdom people were expecting, but was a kingdom where the first will be last, the greatest will be servant of all, the meek will inherit the earth.
How often do you struggle with knowing what your responsibility is to the individual you might see holding up a cardboard sign that says "Need Help," or "Please give — anything appreciated?" Almost everyone is willing to be generous to a good cause and most people are willing to help out their neighbor when need arises, but no one wants to be taken advantage of or give unknowingly to someone's drug habit.
Kim Kardashian has over 48 million followers - on Twitter. Selena Gomez has almost 100 million followers — on Instagram.
The news headlines of the last few weeks have been fraught with racial tension and angst. The issue of racism isn't something unique to our culture, but accounts like what we hear every night reveal a historical sensitivity throughout the ages manifesting a discomfort and even fear of those different than us. Every one of us has a bent toward exalting ourselves and one sinful way this is done is by finding fault and blame with others because of racial differences.
2015 was another year of global tragedy on a massive scale; a perusal of newspaper headlines proclaim the top tragedies include the earthquake in Nepal that killed almost 9,000, the terrorist attacks in Paris, ongoing attacks and massacres by ISIS and Boko Haram, the war in Yemen which has claimed the lives of hundreds of citizens, airliner crash in Taiwan, a massive shipping explosion in China, landslides in Colombia and avalanches in Afghanistan, and stateside shootings in San Bernardino, South Carolina, and Oregon.