Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kidzone 22.

Symbols of Christmas.

At Christmas time we come across many symbols that remind us of the true message of the season. Here are some of them.

1. The Christmas tree.

This reminds us of our sin. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, and Jesus died on a tree to take away our sins by redeeming us from the curse of the law.

Evergreen. The Christmas tree is evergreen, which reminds us of the everlasting life Christ offers all who come to him.

The point. This points heavenwards, reminding us that Jesus came from heaven to be our Saviour.

The Angel. Reminds us that it was an Angel that brought the first Christmas message to some Shepherds, "Fear not, for I bring good tidings of great joy, for unto you is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord." (Luke 2.10,11).

The star. Reminds us that God sent a special star to guide the wise men to the baby Jesus.

The lights. Jesus came to give light to those in darkness, and guide us on our way to heaven.

The decorations. Remind us of the beauty of everlasting life obtained through faith in Jesus.

Depository for gifts. (Usually underneath the tree). Reminds us of the first and best Christmas gift - Jesus Christ, God's gift to the world. We are also reminded that for any gift to benefit us, we need to receive it. If we don't personally receive Jesus into our lives then, as far as we are concerned, He might as well never have come to earth.

2. Bells.

Bells are traditionally rung to announce good news. And there is no better news than God sending His Son to earth on that first Christmas day. They are also rung to announce new beginnings, This reminds us of our beginning a new life in Christ.

3. Holly.

The points of the holly leaf remind us that our salvation was obtained through pain, and the red berries remind us of Christ's blood shed for us.

4. Santa Claus.

This reminds us of God's generosity to us. St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) was a third century Bishop who lived in Turkey. He was a generous man who gave gifts to people anonymously - hence his habit of dropping presents down people's chimneys!

5. The wreath.

The Christmas wreath's never ending ring is a reminder of God's eternal love for us. A wreath on a door is a sign of welcome, inviting all to enter in. This reminds us of Christ's invitation for all to come to Him. The middle of the wreath is a bare and empty space - a reminder of what life would be without Christ's love and grace.

6. Christmas candy.

The red and white striped Christmas candy is a reminder of the stripes Jesus took for us. The red is a symbol for His blood, and the white for the spotless New Life He gives us.

Your questions answered - What proof is there that God exists?

Many of our prominent political leaders today say that they do not believe in God, citing "lack of proof" of God's existence as the reason for their unbelief. I have tried to put myself "in the shoes" of these people and asked myself that if I genuinely was seeking proof of God's existence, what proof could God give me that would convince me that He is real? I came up with the following four proofs that God could give to convince me of His existence.

1. Creation. If God is real, I would ask Him to create something, out of nothing, that I could see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands.

2. Communication. I would ask God to communicate with me, perhaps by sending someone, or even writing to me, to tell me things like what He is like, why He made me, what His plans are for me, and if there is there is life after death.

3, Revelation. I would ask God to reveal Himself to us by visiting planet Earth in person. When He was here, I would ask Him to prove His power by doing things we humans cannot do, and that defy the natural laws of the universe. Things like multiplying matter, defying gravity, commanding nature (such as storms) to obey Him, commanding the sick to be healed and the dead to come back to life.

4. Finally, if God were real, I would ask Him if He really loved us humans, and to do something to demonstrate how much He loves us.

I cannot really think of any other proofs that God could give to convince us that He is real. But surely those I have listed above are more than enough. If God did all that, surely nobody could still doubt His existence. The proof would be irrefutable! But then I remembered - GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN US THOSE FOUR PROOFS!

1. We only have to look around us to see the vast number of wonderful things that have been created (If there is no Creator, they must have created themselves, beginning with nothing. And to believe this requires an unreasonable faith!). - "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19.1.

2. God has sent us many messengers to tell us about Himself - they were usually called Prophets. And He has written us a letter that tells s all me need to know to live our lives the right way. It is called the Bible. - "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways." Hebrews 1.1. "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3. 16,17.

3. Two thousand years ago, God did visit this planet in person. We called Him "Jesus". And while He was with us, He did stop or suspend the natural physical laws that govern the universe. We called these mighty acts "miracles". "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples." John 20.30.

4. God did demonstrate how much He loves us by allowing Himself to be crucified on a wooden cross. "God demonstrates his love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5.8.

I must conclude that God has given us many proofs of His existence. Enough, I would suggest, to convince any person genuinely seeking the truth. Yet many still deny His existence. No, the problem is not with God, it is not a lack of proof. Rather, the problem is with people. Many refuse to believe. To do so would mean that they would have to admit that they were responsible to a Higher Authority, and our selfish nature naturally rebels against that. Jesus put it like this "You refuse to come to me that you may have life (John 5. 40). Or, as the old proverb says. "There are none so blind as those who do not want to see."

So let us continue to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who will listen, and pray to God to open the eyes of the (spiritually) blind.

Laugh break - Cats and dogs.

WHAT IS A CAT?(According to a man)

Cats do what they want.They rarely listen to you.They are totally unpredictable.When you want to play, they want to be alone.When you want to be alone, they want to play.They expect you to cater to their every whim.They are moody.They leave hair everywhere.They drive you nuts and cost an arm and a leg.

CONCLUSION: They are tiny women in fur coats.

WHAT IS A DOG?(According to a woman)

Dogs lie around all day, sprawled on the most comfortable piece of furniture in the house.They can hear a package of food opening half a block away, but they don't hear you when you are in the same room.They growl when they are not happy.When you want to play, they want to play.When you want to be alone, they want to play.They are great at begging.They will love you forever if you rub their tummies.They leave their toys everywhere.They do disgusting things with their mouths and then try to give you a kiss.

CONCLUSION: They are little men in fur coats.

Illusion - Changing the lengths of three ropes.

Here is a great illusion to try out on your friends. It will require a little practice, but will be well worth the effort. Refer to the diagram to see how to operate this rope illusion.
Cut three pieces of string or (better) rope to the following lengths:-

1.23 cm. (Red in diagram)
2. 37 cm. (Blue)
3. 55 cm. (Black)

For clarity, the ropes are different colours in the diagram, but for your actual illusion will be the same colour.

Hold the ropes in your left hand as per Fig. A., with the BACK of your hand facing your spectators. Say "I am going to change the lengths of these three ropes."

Manipulate your ropes as shown in Figs. B,C,D and E. Remember to keep the back of your hand towards the spectators. Essentially, what you are doing is looping the long rope (3) through the short rope (1). With practice, this should only take a few seconds.

Fig. B. Bring the bottom of Rope 3 across the other ropes.
Fig. C. Bring the bottom of Rope 1 up to the top, and hold it next to your thumb.
Fig. D. Bring the bottom of Ropes 2 and 3 up to the top, and hold on the right of your hand.
Fig. E. Grasp the three ends on your right (i.e. the two ends of Rope 3, and what was the bottom of Rope 2), pull horizontally, then release.

The three ropes - from your perspective - should now be as in Fig. E. From the spectator's perspective, they will appear to now be three ropes of equal length.

For added effect, you could then adjust the lengths of the ropes by pulling on each end of Rope 3 to make it shorter or longer.

Conclude by restoring the "original" ropes, either by pulling them apart, or by screwing them up and throwing them in the air.