Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Simeon or Herod?

Greetings from Kenya!  We hope you are having a Merry Christmas.  It doesn't feel much like Christmas here - 75 degrees and a little humid.  However, thanks to the out of control western influence, when we visit the mall we see all the decorations and are reminded of the season.

Our Kenyan pastor recently preached on the birth of Jesus and Herod's reaction.  The following Sunday I was able to share in another church about Simeon, the prophet who received baby Jesus in the temple when he was being dedicated to the Lord.

The contrast between the two reactions to Jesus' birth is amazing and should challenge us to examine how we actually respond to the gift of Jesus.  Simeon and Herod both saw Jesus not just as an innocent baby born in humble surroundings.  They both saw him for what he would become, King.  However their response to the truth of his coming Kingship was remarkably different.  Herod wanted none of it.  He liked being King. He wanted to maintain power and control and wasn't going to relinquish it to anyone. Period.  Even if he had to kill many innocent babies, he would not submit.

Simeon however, saw the truth about Jesus and was full of joy.  He thanked God for his provision, for sending a Messiah.  The Holy Spirit had told Simeon he would see the long awaited messiah before he died.  When the Spirit led him to the temple and he sawa Jesus that day, he held him and praised God, even saying that he could die now that his eyes had seen the Savior.

Simeon not only was willing to submit to the Kingship of Jesus, but he was totally -100% at peace knowing that God has graciously kept his promise to deliver not only Israel, but all people from the bondage of sin.  Simeon understood from the scriptures that man was separated from a Holy God because of our own sinful, selfish hearts and that we all would remain separated from him forever if we were not rescued and redeemed.  Simeon knew that if we repented and believed, submitted ourselves to this Jesus who is our Savior, then we will be reconciled to our holy creator God.
A friend receives her first bible in
her language.

Today, what do our actions reveal about our response to Jesus?  Have we joyfully and thankfully submitted to King Jesus?  Or, are there parts of our life that we struggle to maintain power and control over?  Are we still seeking the things our hearts desire rather than the things and paths that God desires for us?  Do we still want to be in charge and to hear our own name rather than the name of Jesus?

I know in my heart there are times that my flesh swells up and deeply desires to maintain power and control.  I have to pray and ask the same Holy Spirit that led Simeon to lead me to a place of humility, surrender, and submission to the will of God as revealed in the scriptures.

There is so much more to delve into with both Herod and Simeon, especially Simeon's declaration song about Jesus.  But as we approach Christmas day, I pray my family and yours will be led by God's Holy Spirit to rejoice in the birth of Jesus who has made a way for our souls to be restored with our creator - finding joy and peace in surrendering to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.


Asa playing a soccer game with the Great Rift Valley
and Mt. Suswa in the background
We are doing well in Kenya and our first term is drawing to a close.  Next summer we will return to the states for about 6 months to visit with family, report to the many that have supported us, and get some rest.  We look forward to that visit but we want to make the most of our next 6 months, not allowing what lays ahead to alter our focus.

Our work continues to develop and grow.  We are working weekly in several areas and we are seeing fruit and relationships grow.  If you would like to hear more about our work and pray for us with specific projects and communities please email me at stephen.dinkins@gmail.com and I will add you to an email list and get you some additional information.

Merry Christmas from Africa,


Sunset with Kilimanjaro from
Amboselli Game Park

Sarah using her mad nursing skills
at a traffic accident in town.
Nehemiah and Sarah before
NLD's christmas program at school. 

Rainey's 15th birthday party with NLD
and Benny. She had double party
with a friend from Texas
(thus the cowboy stuff)

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