Echoes From the Campfire

I can admire toughness.  The right kind.”
–Jack Schaefer (Shane)

“They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.”
–Hebrews 11:33-34 (NLT)
The First Advent, so many years ago was the coming of the Son of God to redeem mankind.  Think of it–He came as a defenseless baby.  There was not this  proclamation, and yet there was with the signs in the heavens.  Some people did not take notice while others were alarmed with the advent.  A few, saw the significance of the birth; that a change in the world was taking place.
However, just because the Christ was now born, would live His life, and die for mankind then rise in glorious triumph does not mean that everyone would accept it.  Even among those who do accept the individual must now work with the Holy Spirit within him.  Dallas Willard wrote, “The invasion of personality by life from above does not by itself form the personality in the likeness of Christ….”  Once we are saved by grace then we must grow in grace as Peter wrote, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….” (2 Peter 3:18, NKJV)
This Scripture indicates at least three things.  First, it is a process, just like growth is.  It is continual, and yet, at times there may be tremendous spurts of growth.  Second, it is life-long.  We never stop growing in Christ.  Third, to gain this growth we must know more and more of Jesus.  This is done in two ways:  to experience a relationship with Him that grows, and to read His Word.  However, a word of caution–this is not done by us doing nothing.  We must learn and accept the responsibility of moving with God in our transformation.  We are renewed by the “transforming of our mind.”  If that is so, why then continue in the past things?  They must be put aside or they will hinder the growth that the Holy Spirit desires within us.  
Christmas Thought:  “Somehow he [Tim] gets thoughtful sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard.  He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant for them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
–Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)

Christmas is definitely a time for pondering.  We should take the time and think of the wondrous things the heavenly Father did at Christmastime so long ago.  I have already noticed that there is the hustle and bustle taking place.  People are in such a hurry.  Cars seemingly go faster, and stop-signs, forget them.  It’s “get out of my way buster.”
We need to look at ourselves the way the Lord sees us.  Put away the falseness for He sees through it anyway.  There is no fa├žade when showing up before the Almighty.  People should see us in a couple of ways:  they should see how we have changed into a new creation.  What we once were, we are no longer.  Secondly, they should see us in our effort to be more like Him.  We now strive to keep His commandments because we love Him.  We now strive to be more like Him and that requires effort on our part.  Do not let anyone tell you that is legalism.