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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Country in Need

Full Country Name:
The Independent State of Papua New Guinea
4180,508 sq mi
Population: 4.5 million
: Port Moresby
95% Melanesian, 5% Polynesian, Micronesian, Chinese
Pidgin English, Indigenous languages, Motu
Animism, Catholic, Christian
Mekere Morauta

Located in the Pacific Ocean just 100 miles north of Australia, the country of Papua New Guinea compromises half the island of New Guinea and some 600 offshore islands. Home to over 870 distinct language groups, Papua New Guinea is an untamed land, full of extremes: swamp and jagged limestone, mud and moss forest, suffocating heat and Highland chill, plumed, pearl-shelled villagers and prosaic hill people, tiny tree kangaroos and enormous Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterflies. Its diversity excites explorers, anthropologists and travelers.
Though diverse in many ways, there is one thing that remains consistent throughout this country: There are people groups isolated all over this island who have never heard the life-changing message of God's grace.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Christmas Message

As we celebrate the birth of Christ this holiday season, take a minute to think about the path that God used to bring us the Savior of the world. The lineage of Christ is a very important part of the Christmas story, but there are certain things God included in Jesus’ family tree that bring us an important truth.

As we read in the first chapter of Matthew, Christ was a descendant of David, one of the greatest kings of Israel. This is the fulfillment of a prophecy to David (2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16), and establishes Christ as the Messiah, the promised Savior of the world.

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us …He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David.”--Isaiah 9:6-7

Since Christ was in the line of David, He also was a descendant of Solomon, David’s son. The Bible makes specific mention of this fact. Why?

“David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.”--Matthew 1:6

Why did God choose Solomon as the path through which Christ would be born? Consider Solomon’s origin: he was the son of David and Bathsheba, the result of one of David’s most blatant and deceitful sins. David slept with Bathsheba, and when he could not hide his sin, he arranged for the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah so that he could marry her and the result would be legitimate. That’s pretty twisted logic.

What happened? The child died, David was punished, and then Solomon was born to David and Bathsheba. David did have many other sons, so why did God choose Solomon as his successor and the ancestor of Christ? Solomon’s presence in Jesus’ lineage is a constant reminder of David’s most famous sin. Why did God use this mistake of David as the route through which to bless the entire world?

God uses mistakes like this for His purposes to remind us that it is all about Him, and what He has done, not us. God took the sin of David and used it to show the world that He does not need “good” people to accomplish His purposes; He is just looking for people who seek to serve Him based on His terms, not theirs. What are His terms?

“God has chosen …the foolish things …the weak things …the base things …the things that are despised …so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus who became to us, wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” –1 Corinthians 1:27-30

Christ’s death for us on the cross was a gift; it’s as simple as that. Christ came to this earth to provide restoration between God and man, and the one requirement is to simply believe that His death is adequate, there is no other way to gain acceptance with God. These are God's terms.