God’s Anger and The Christmas Message

The Old Testament Prophet Jonah didn’t want to go to the city of Nineveh to preach as instructed by God because he knew that God would treat them graciously and mercifully. He did not want the Gentiles in Nineveh to be saved.

Ironically, while trying to get as far away from Nineveh as he could he tells the ships crew to throw him overboard so that all of them would not perish because of his sin. The Gentile crew on board the ship would receive the same grace and mercy that resulted in there believing the truth of God’s word that Jonah didn’t want the Gentile folks in Nineveh to receive (*).

I wonder how many of us are running from God’s mercy and grace because we consciously or unconsciously know we don’t deserve them yet subconsciously know He’s more than willing to give them?

This Christmas season let’s focus on the anger of God because if not for His anger at sin, He never would’ve sent his Son to planet earth to defeat it. Yes, we could never receive the salvation (justification, sanctification, and glorification) made possible through Jesus’ perfect obedience and sacrifice on the cross. God’s anger at sin and not at us is fleshed out in the life-saving and life-changing undeserved blessings known as mercy and grace. No, we don’t deserve them and we can’t earn them, they are free gifts from God. All we have to do is swallow our pride and accept them.

This Christmas let’s be thankful for The Gift that keeps on giving and giving. Every human being has a specially wrapped present this year, all we have to do is unwrap it!

Mason Swinney

(*) “The Prodigal Profit” by Timothy Keller

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The Baby and The Cross

Christmas 🎄 is about The Baby,
Easter’s about the cross;
One comes as a present 🎁
The other with a cost.

We seem to favor Christmas
A sense of joy pervades
You can feel it all around you
And wish that it would stay.

We’ve romanticized the manger
And the miracle portrayed;
But forget about the dirt
And poverty displayed.

Yet rising from the barnyard
A bright star 🌟 showed the way
For the Shepherd men to follow
To the Savior born that day.

Let’s stop and think a moment
Of God’s answer to the fall
A child, a King, a Savior
Born in a dirty stall.

But the real Christmas message
Is more than peace on earth,
It’s God has condescended
To visit planet earth.

But the way He chose to do it
Leaves us humbled and amazed,
The King of Kings among us
Not to visit but to stay.

So this Christmas let’s consider
The Baby 👶 and the Cross ✝️
For one without the other
Leaves us hopeless, blind and lost.

Mason Swinney

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Subtle Lies

We humans have been cursed by the fall resulting in our believing that we are independent and self-sufficient people. That couldn’t be further from the truth and is fleshed out in each of our lives if we’d stop long enough to think about it. Adam and Eve wanted independence and so believed the serpent’s lie about their being like God if they ate the forbidden fruit. They passed on their rebellious gene to all their posterity. Perhaps this lust for independence can be best illustrated by the late Frank Sinatra’s song about his doing life “My Way”. This is a compelling sounding concept but couldn’t be further from the truth as we are totally dependent on God for everything. Consider for a moment the absurdity of their thinking that by biting a piece of fruit they’d somehow become like God. We are dependent on God for everything; our very being, our conception and birth; for the sun that lights our way and warms us; the air we breathe; the water we drink, bathe and play in; the 4 seasons; plants and animals to enjoy and sustain us; flowers and trees and the dirt they thrive in; and on and on and on.

The second lie we believe is the lie of self-sufficiency. We think we are perfectly able to navigate life with us calling all the shots until that one major catastrophe strikes like depression, OCD, PTSD, losing our job, a rebellious child we can’t “fix”, inoperable cancer, betrayal by our best friend,…….When my youngest son was three years old he would jump off the low diving board at the swimming pool into the arms of either his mother or myself and once caught would push us away though he couldn’t swim a lick . He wanted self -sufficiency in the water but if we’d let him have it he would’ve drowned. Such is “Man” when we demand self-sufficiency and go it alone, do it our way, and then life’s tsunami hits and we find we’re in water way over our heads and drowning. The greatest commandment is to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves and we can’t do that while trying to be self-sufficient. We each need God to understand who we really are as image bearers and what’s expected of us and to make sense of life and our purpose in it. We need one another to love and relate to and to do life with as we navigate through the trials and heart aches that life brings us all.

This holiday season let’s embrace and celebrate our total dependence on the God who created each of us and placed us in our mother’s wombs. And, the birth of the Savior who modeled perfectly for us how our total submission to the Father is our highest calling and greatest gift.

Merry Christmas,

Mason Swinney

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The Holiness and Love Connection

Holy, holy, holy,
treble praise the Seraphim sing,
Isaiah overwhelmed and broken,
unhinged God’s presence brings.

Holiness and grading on a curve,
with God can’t go together;
only perfect hearts confer perfect love
anything less isn’t perfect,
it’s found only in God Who’s above.

The only spotless lamb was Jesus;
Man’s spots are dark and perverse
and our hearts unquestionably darker,
and our lips, by far, even worse.

We’re all desperately wicked,
by any scale we’re undone,
there is no goodness in us,
our best is what evil becomes.

But The Lamb changed that forever,
He absorbed man’s sin and hate
He took our brokenness on Him
and transformed our hearts and fate.

Faith is a gift from heaven,
we can be born again,
re-knit by God the Spirit,
earth, for now, the womb we live in;

our hearts our lifeline to Jesus,
the only God-man that exists,
His Holiness, Holiness, Holiness
is the power that makes love persist;

our labor pains don’t last forever,
our birth canal can clearly be seen,
the Great Physician is waiting
for us to come home now redeemed.

Mason Swinney

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Positive or Negative?

I’m currently undergoing Neuro Emotional Technique, NET, testing wherein they locate stored within your muscles past traumas and other negative events that have not been adequately dealt with. I am amazed at how well it works.

However, I was wondering why we spend so much time and money trying to locate and identify past traumatic and other suppressed negative events and little or no effort trying to locate past blessings, positive, healthy events? I understand the presupposition that these past traumatic experiences need to be identified and “prayed” over. But what if the more positive sides of our lives were identified and “praised” over since God inhabits the praises of His people wouldn’t that exponentially affect healing as well and wouldn’t we be getting more bang for the buck focusing on the positive sides of our lives rather than the negative, especially since light always defeats darkness and considering the self-fulfilling prophecy. At the very least shouldn’t we be doing both?

Just a thought.

Mason Swinney

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Sieve List

Bucket lists get much attention,
list the things you want to do?
Decide, your time’s expiring,
your years remaining few.

But after you’ve checked ’em off
what difference has been made,
sure some excitement, adventures
but real soon the memories fade.

Instead let’s make a sieve list,
things received we give away,
then instead of collecting relics
we put a smile on people’s day.

And then we all get a blessing,
the helped and helper alike
for giving is better than receiving
Jesus said so it must be right.

Mason Swinney

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Some of us are candles,
others more like rocks;
one lights up life’s moments,
the other more orthodox.

Light always defeats the darkness,
rocks can mark the way;
strike a match and darkness scatters,
a marked path can keep you safe.

The example Jesus left us
spend time with God alone,
He wants to share our moments
as we worship at His throne.

Jesus gave up heaven’s treasures
so we could treasure Him,
Satan tries to counterfeit ’em;
he’s pure evil outside and in;

his trinkets sabotage our thinking
pretending we’re happier than we are,
and our toys bring lasting pleasure
when in fact they never did.

Wishful thinking spawns illusions
meant to charm but only fool,
they come dressed up as blessings
but they’re curses, Satan’s tools.

Life’s a struggle, many battles
and we’re broken to begin,
damaged goods wanting importance,
so life’s answers aren’t found within.

It’s actually quite simple,
stop trying, turn to Him,
only He can truly save us,
born new creatures once again.

So give yourself to Jesus,
let Him do all the rest,
He promises to change us,
trust in Him He knows what’s best.

Can it really be that simple?
Yes it’s simple, but wasn’t cheap,
Jesus had to leave His Father
for His mission to complete;

Mankinds sins required atonement,
a blood payment was the price,
only blood from someone perfect,
could make that sacrifice;

Jesus came to earth to do it,
completely God and fully man
He obeyed God’s law completely,
was sacrificed, His Father’s plan.

Man’s sin problems taken care of
by Jesus on the cross;
but our wills and way of thinking
have to change, remove the dross.

Our troubles start in our computers,
they need to be retooled,
God’s Word the program needed,
our thinking hardwired the cure.

God spoke the world into existence,
His words pack quite a punch,
look at all His words created
fixing us won’t take that much.

The key is the agenda,
follow His or follow ours,
history proves that ours are broken,
only His are God empowered.

The choice is fairly simple,
trust in Him or trust in us,
see the answers in the trusting
and if He’s God who else to trust!

Mason Swinney

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