Merry Christmas

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

What does this mean?  Who Cares?  If you find yourself asking these questions, please don’t take my word for it or any other blog.  Read the rest of what God has to say.

If you get started and still have questions or thoughts, I would love to talk with you more about it and I am sure that your local pastor would too!

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Blood POURED out

I am so grateful that God sent his son to die; his blood covering my sins.  It is an amazingly relieving truth to know that I am forgiven.  In order for this truth to become a reality though, Jesus did have to die.  That is not a pretty sight.  It is gruesome and ugly, and yet somehow the truth of forgiveness is beautiful.

If you have ever wondered if Jesus’s blood is good enough for your sins, notice the way it is described in the bible: his blood was poured, not dripped, not leaking, not sipped, but spilled out.  If you have a bucket of paint and you pour it out over your painting, nothing is left uncovered.  Every nook and cranny is filled with the paint.  So to is your life.  Every nook and cranny is filled with forgiveness.

Okay, so maybe the forgiveness helps hide some of the sin but does it really cover it? Isn’t it still there underneath?

In an old small group that we were a part of, we did some art worship (shout our to Dan and Krissann Janowitz).  As I worshiped God with my horrendous painting ability, I learned something about forgiveness.  When I started, I want to make my colors a little darker, so I added just a little bit of black.  It didn’t take long, and every color that I had put on the page was black.  Very little shown through the black, except the things that I intentionally tried to keep the black away from (and even then, this was a hard process).

God’s forgiveness is the same way.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we can hide our sin, but instead that the cost that has been incurred by sinning has been payed in full.  It no longer exists. You are forgiven.

If you are struggling to know that you are forgiven,. I encourage you to read the bible and see the truth that God has shared with us.  We are more forgiven than we could ever know.


If you still struggle with knowing you are forgiven, I encourage you to talk to your pastors and start exploring what the Bible says about forgiveness with them.  Start the conversation and God will help finish it.

El Salvador – 1 week away

One week from today we will be landing in El Salvador! It is only in the last few weeks that it has really hit us that the trip is so close.  For today’s post we want to share some of the ways that God has already been working though this trip.

One of the coolest things that we have seen is that the very fact that we are going on this trip has opened a door to many conversions. We have been able to talk to believers, non-believing friends, co-workers, and many others about the fact that we are going on a mission trip. In some conversations, it simply is a way to identify ourselves as Christians, while other times it has come up, the conversations have evolved into long and in-depth ways to discuss faith and God. It is such a good way to talk to people who actively do not follow Jesus without it being an awkward “Christianity” conversation!

We have also been able to grow in trusting Him.  The big way that this is happening is through finances, but we are also trusting in Him more in the little things as well. It is hard to try to arrange going on a trip in the middle of work/church commitments/grad school/being adults/etc. but we are trusting that He will provide us the time to prepare and the time to step away from our life here while we go serve Him in El Salvador! He has already given us the time to prepare, and He will bless us with time to pack, pray, and prepare in the next week as well!

Thank you for your support and your prayers this week.  You can continue to pray for us in these ways:

  • Continued discernment for long-term missions and ministry
  • Final costs for the trip
  • God will actively work in and through us while we are in El Salvador
  • God will work miraculously in the hearts of the Salvadorans and in the social structure
  • Growth in Jesus
  • Health and safety! Safety is obviously a big one with any travel, but there has been a lot of sickness going around near us, and we want to be healthy before and during the trip!

Thank you again for your love and support!  We are getting so excited to see how the Lord will use us! We look forward to sharing our experience with you when we are home!


If God is leading you to support us financially, you can give at citylightphilly.com/give and mark your donation as for the Buckley’s El Salvador.


If you have any questions or comments about El Salvador or our trip, feel free to leave them on this website or email us at buckleyfamily14@gmail.com.  We would love to hear your words of encouragements, know that you are praying for us, and be able to connect further.

Reading in the Old Testament

I was asked the other day if I was a Christian who used both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and I responded with a mildly confused, but affirmative answer. And then I thought about it more, and realized that since we live in such a “you-pick” culture with so many different kinds of Christians that it makes sense that someone would ask that kind of question when trying to figure out where someone stands. And that makes me sad. It makes me sad because both Old and New Testament help us to know and love Jesus, and if we discredit a part of scripture, then we start to discredit a part of our Savior too.. But I digress. I want to share a few revelations from some of my reading in the Old Testament*.

During my devotions one morning, I read from both the book of Malachi and the book of Jude (both are really short and are at the end of the OT and NT, respectively). I saw a parallel between these books; the authors are speaking God’s words, and they sound the same… I mean, we all know it is the same God, but when you open to a book in the front, and a book in the back and SEE it, it feels like a “woah” moment, or at least that is how I felt! I felt wow-ed by His ever-present consistency in scripture, and I was reminded that He is constant in my life too!

I saw a parallel in their content in that both authors are condemning the ungodly people and defining their unpleasant fate, but both books also offer encouragement to the ones who pursue the Lord. And that encouragement sounds kind of like a reminder of Jesus.

In Malachi, we read this tidbit of encouragement, given after a lot of information about how the unfaithful Jewish people will suffer:

I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come. – Malachi 3:1

Sound familiar? It sounds like a prophesy about John the Baptist and Jesus to me! So the Lord encouraged the Hebrews by telling them Jesus was coming! Cool! So then, in Jude, we read this:

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life… To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen! – Jude 1: 20-21, 24-25

So in this letter, we are encouraged again by a reminder of Jesus! Jude knew more of the story when his letter was written, so it makes sense that it is a little more full and juicy, but it is so cool that the encouragement to the faithful believers was Jesus in both places in scripture!

We can be uplifted by the fact that Jesus has come to save us from our sins, and that He will be coming again. We can feel empowered to know that He left the Holy Spirit with us, and that we can live our lives in this temporary home as followers of the One True God! We have a purpose and an Awesome God who cares for us! I could keep going like a giddy middle-school girl in love with her favorite __, but I’ll be concise.

Not only does the message itself encourage me, but the fact that this message was present before and after Jesus walked the Earth is even cooler! God had a plan for the world so that we could all know Jesus and His Grace. Don’t forget that He cares about little ol’ you and me too, and He has a plan in process for us as well 🙂

I pray that you can feel His love and be encourage by His presence! Have a good week!

 

*Side note: I wish that I read in the Old Testament more often, but I’ll be honest, this is a skill I’m working on. Be patient with me?