Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A New Focus

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 Some material take from Enlarge My Border by Van Houser
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, "Because I bore him with pain." Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!" And God granted him what he requested.  1Chronicles 4:9-10  
Here we are once again - December 31st, New Year’s Eve - and not only is it the end of a year but also the end of a decade. This is the time of year most of us re-evaluate our lives, priorities, goals, dreams, and the direction we are headed.  We look back over the year, or decade, and take stock of what has happened and how our lives have changed. Births, deaths, marriage, divorce, graduations, illnesses, moves, and job changes are some of the big things in life that change us forever. And we have our resolutions we make each year and goals we make, short term and long term.  
What hopes and dreams do you have for this next year? We all want good things for ourselves and those we love.  Jabez prayed for God to bless him and enlarge his border. Author Bruce Wilkinson suggests Jabez looked at his present circumstances and concluded, "Surely I was born for more than this!" You may have felt that way before about your life, but Jabez had a heart and a burden to serve God, not just a selfish desire for his life to be better. He wanted God to expand his borders and by that he meant he wanted to do more and be more for God.  Jabez had learned what a truly fulfilled life was, and that it could only be found in a relationship with God and serving Him.
What if our new year’s resolutions were all about others and not about ourselves at all?  What if we only made goals that required us to step out and go and tell others about Jesus and His life-giving grace? What if at the end of the year we could look back and see the lives we touched and changed because we focused outward instead of inward? We were saved to serve; to tell the world about Jesus and His grace and goodness that we have experienced in our lives; to bring hope to the suffering, the poverty stricken and the sorrowful. What would God have to expand for us to know the kind of increase Jabez was asking for? We would need to expand our willingness to serve, our vision to match His, and perhaps our faith. We don’t have to wait for riches to help the poor. We don’t have to wait for education to minister to others.  We don’t have to wait until we have the time - we need to make the time.  It is amazing what God lays in front of us when we step out in faith.  
If we pray the prayer of Jabez, we are asking God to:
·      Expand our sphere of influence so we can reach more people
·      Enlarge our responsibility so we can be found more faithful
·      Open more opportunities for ministry so that we can be used by God
This desire is not about us, but others!  It is not about profit, but purpose. There was no selfishness in this prayer!  There was great commitment in this prayer! Jabez prayer was for opportunity to serve the purpose of God. What would that look like in our lives?

As you lay out your goals for this year, give them over to God and ask Him to do what He wants to do in your life in the next 365 days. Ask Him to expand your heart to reach outward. Only when we give ourselves up to be used by God will we find the borders of our lives being expanded … sometimes beyond our wildest dreams!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Settling Into The King of Kings

Monday, December 30, 2019 
But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. Luke 2:19-20
It is a few days after Christmas and the baby Jesus is learning to adjust to His new environment as His parents are settling into parenthood. Much like any new parent today they are figuring out schedules and routines and wondering if they will ever sleep all night again.  And the King of Kings settles in. He is learning a schedule and that crying sometimes gets Him what He wants. By now He has learned the smell and warmth of His parent’s arms and He nestles in and sleeps soundly.  
What must Mary be pondering now? She holds the son of God in her arms gently and after all that has happened, now she is feeling the truth of motherhood. The angels and shepherds are gone, the wise men are on their way, and Joseph has left them each day to go to work. It is just her and her baby, and the feedings, diaper changes, and naps are all her responsibility - except this is the Son of God. Does she remember that every time He cries or every time she feeds and changes Him?  She has no idea what lies ahead but she knows He will do great things. All the stresses of motherhood are enough to think about without realizing you are the mother of Jesus - the King of Kings and the savior of the world. Mary is learning how to take care of a baby and do all the things while life falls into a sweet rhythm. She is settling into her Heavenly Father and trusting Him to lead her as she mothers His son. 
What are you settling into these days after the celebration of Christ’s birth? It is almost the new year so maybe you are thinking about what you didn’t get done this year and what you might like to change next year.  Maybe you are putting all the decorations up and getting things back in order after having company. We too can have that same sweet rhythm Mary knew with the very baby in Mary’s arms.  He came so that we could settle into Him - so we can find peace and comfort in His arms just like He found as a newborn baby in His parent’s arms. For Joseph and Mary, Christmas was more than a once a year celebration, it was a day by day reality. The best part of this reality is ours because the presence of the King of Kings changes everything. Whatever you are doing, don’t forget that the King of Kings came for you and you can settle into Him for everything - every painful thing, every failure, every broken relationship, every fear, and every scary unseen step of the future. Settling into Him changes everything, so remember that your Father is the King and take the miracle of Christmas with you in your heart every day of the year.  

Sunday, December 29, 2019

“Enlarge My Border!”

Enlarge My Border!
1 Chronicles 4:10b

God has called all of His children to be ministers of His grace and goodness. Our vision of our field of service limits how widely God can bless others through us.  Jabez knew the work God had done in his life and asked God to allow him an opportunity to be a blessing to many.

Jabez was seeking to live life by the motto, "I want to be _______ and do ________ for God."

Territory for us is not earthly ________________, but spiritual _______________________.

When we pray this prayer, we are praying for God to:

·         Expand our _________________________________ so we can reach more people.

·         Enlarge our __________________________ so we can be found more faithful.

·         Open more ________________________ for ministry so that we can be a used by God.

What would God have to expand What would need to happen for us to know the kind of increase Jabez was asking for?

I. Expand our ____________

A.   Of ______ We Are

Most people and churches are limited by their __________.

Having something to ____ is not __________ something.

B.   Of __________ We Are

God is not only ________ us but ____ us!   Acts 1:8 

We would rather God work ____ us rather than _____________ us.

C.   Of _________ We _________

II. Expand our __________

A. The Expanded Heart of _____________ to Move Beyond Our _____________ _________

We should never reach a place as a child of God where we are totally ____________________ with our walk and our _____________ to a lost and dying world.

When a congregation becomes __________________, that church begins to ______!  People even seek churches where they are _____________________, not _____________________.

B. The Expanded Heart of _______ to _____________ Us to Action

Love is a ________.  It is not just an ______________.  We are ______________________ to love so that we will ___________________ love.

Love demands ____________.

C.   The Expanded Heart of ____________ to Increase Our ____________________

Jabez prayer was for _____________________ to serve the purpose of God.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the staff of NSBC
May your family experience the joy, hope, peace, and love of the King of Kings.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the staff of NSBC
May your family experience the joy, hope, peace, and love of the King of Kings.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the staff of NSBC
May your family experience the joy, hope, peace, and love of the King of Kings this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Redemptive Love

Monday, December 23, 2019

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

In this simple salvation passage is the Christmas story. John 3:16 gives the total picture of the meaning and purpose of Christmas.  In this passage we discover the motive, action and purpose of the beautiful gift of Christ.  Christmas and Easter are one act of God - It is called REDEMPTION.

The Person of Christmas – God

While the focus of Christmas is the manger that contains the Christ child, the person behind the manger is God.  John 1:1 describes Christmas from the vantage point of eternity and identifies the child as God incarnate: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

It is God who presides over and orchestrates the event that we call Christmas and takes it all the way to Easter. Herein for every simple heart is the very essence of the gospel. This text tells us certain very great things:

·         It tells us that the origin and initiative in all salvation lies with God.

·         God’s creation of man was for fellowship.  Man sinned and separated himself from God for God is Holy.  God takes the initiative to restore access for fellowship and power.

·         Sometimes Christianity is presented in such a way that it sounds as if God had to be persuaded to forgive. Some draw a picture of a stern, angry, unforgiving, legal God, and a gentle, loving, forgiving Jesus. Sometimes men present the Christian message in such a way that it sounds as if Jesus did something that changed the attitude of God to men from condemnation to forgiveness.

But this text tells us that it all started with God. It was God who sent His Son, and He sent His Son because He loved men. Behind everything there is God.

The Spirit of Christmas - so loved

What would cause an all-powerful God to act as He did? The answer is LOVE.  The spirit of Christmas is Love.  John said it well in I John 4:16 & 19 - And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him....We love Him, because He first loved US.

Christmas is the display of the heart of God as well as the purpose of God and person of God. How does God prove this love of his? Not by a weak indulgence that passes over what should not be as if it were not there, or which pretends it does not gravely matter even if it is. That was not love at all. But by doing all that even God can do, and giving all that even God can give to help us; stretching even divine self-sacrifice to the uttermost, and holding back nothing all because of LOVE.

The Recipients of Christmas the world   John 3:17-21

It was His creation, the world, that God so loved. It was not a nation: it was not the good people; it was not only the people who loved Him; it was the world. The whole world is blessed because God chose to love it.  The unlovable and the unlovely, the lonely who have no one else to love them, the man who loves God and the man who never thinks of God, the man who rests in the love of God and the man who spurns the love of God -- all are included in this vast inclusive love of God.

God loves the world; his foolish, blundering, wayward, sin-sick world; and cannot bear to leave it in the troubles and disasters in which it has involved itself; but has thrown in His all, God's all, to right things for it, if it will.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  John 3:17

Monday, December 23, 2019

God So Loved

Ancient cultures gave their kings both political and spiritual significance because many believed their king to be imbued with divine powers.  Thus, in order to be thought of as “good”, the personal and public life of the king had to be beyond reproach in the eyes of his subjects. 

A king was to make his life an example by showing honesty and integrity as well as taking responsibility for his actions.  A king would win the trust and respect of his subjects by proving himself to be just and fair in all his dealings; as well as enforcing law and order in the kingdom. I n other words, the love for a king was determined by the actions taken by a king to better the lives of his subjects.  Beyond that, a king was highly cherished by his people if they sensed that he loved them.

The whole foundation of Christmas is based on love because God so loved He gave…  Jesus, the King of Kings, so loved His subjects that He left His throne in glory to become like them and live among them.  Jesus gave His very life in order to obtain redemption for His subjects, so they could reside together with Him in His eternal kingdom.

The whole foundation of Christmas is based on love because God so loved He gave…  The very nature of God is to give. He gave us life in the first place. He sustains our lives with His gifts of sunshine and rain and much more. And when our days are finished on this planet, He gives us eternal life.  He gave us the ultimate love gift - Jesus, the King of Kings, - who so loved His subjects so much that He left His throne in glory to become like them and live among them. He gave His very life in order to obtain redemption for us, His subjects, so we could reside with Him forever.

All that King Jesus has done is better the lives of His subjects in all facets of life.  Our King wants good things for us because He loves us.  God could have chosen to condemn the world and leave them without any hope, but He chose to love in the greatest way possible…the sacrifice of His Son. It is the love that Jesus demonstrated, dying on the cross, that grabs the heart of mankind. The sacrificial and selfless death of Jesus is the only way will we ever have eternal life, a true gift of love.  It is also only through His son’s heart in us that we can love others.  The greatest gift we can give, not only at Christmas but every day, is to take the love He has shown us and give it to others around us. 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.   John 3:14-16 ESV

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The King Comes to Earth

The Christmas story is one that everyone assumes they know. People can tell you it’s something about a virgin, a babe in a manger and some shepherds or wise men or kings, but there is so much more to the Christmas story. When we are able to see things from God’s point of view the story becomes greater still.

·         The true story of Christmas is the impact of God becoming man and dwelling with us.

·         The incarnation of Christ denotes the union of eternal God with humanity.

·         It is not just Jesus coming into our hearts that saves us, but Jesus coming into the world.

·         This wasn’t a simple birth; this was an invasion of the temporal by the eternal.

·         Christmas is not as beautiful as it is powerful. There is no cross without a manger.

I.     The Reality of Jesus (Who is this King in the Manger?) 

·         The Infant is Infinite.

·         Since a word is an audible or visible expression of a thought, Jesus perfectly revealed what was going on in the mind of God.

·         The “Word was with God and the Word was God” indicates that Jesus Christ existed IN the Father not WITH the Father.

·         Jesus is not a creation of God but is God Himself.

·            The Christ is the Creator.

·         Not only was Jesus an agent of creation, He was the reason for the creation!

·         The Lord is the Source of Life and Light.

·         The incarnation of the Son of God, then, was not a diminishing of deity, but an acquiring of manhood.

·         The darkness cannot ultimately put out the light because light is more powerful than darkness.

II.    The Response to Jesus v 10-13

·         Immanuel is Ignored.

·         The Relative is Rejected.

·         It is sad that some will reject Christ because they don’t feel they want to change without realizing that they will want to change when they accept Him.

·         The Redeemer must be Received.

·         The whole gospel is in the little phrase “born of God.” Salvation is of the Lord.

III.  The Revelation of Jesus 

·         The Infinite became Incarnate.

·         The Magnificent was Manifested.  
·         His Character was Kindness. 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Let Earth Receive Her King!

And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  Luke 2:8-10

Joy To The World

Christmas carols are playing and the message we hear once again is the promise of a king who is coming to bring us joy, peace and love.  Songs of the shepherds, the star, the wise men and the manger retell the story of God’s coming to earth in the form of a babe.  “Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King!”  The world sings loudly the triumphant message of God’s wonderful grace given for the souls of men but is that gift really complete unless it is received? 

“Joy to the world, the Lord has come!”  Sadly, the promise of Christmas is not realized in our world.  Where is the peace, when rioters storm the streets and wars rage against those who are not like them?  Where is the joy, when so many are burdened by debt and damaged relationships?  Where is the love, where divorce, hate and distrust eat like a cancer on families?  Did God not provide what He promised?

Let earth receive her King
 It is not because God has not provided the needed gift but that man has not “received her King.”  There in Bethlehem on that first Christmas night there were a few who were extremely joyful.  But even the joy they experienced was an expectant joy.  While the Lord had come, His work was not done.  The joy was in the promise of His fulfilling the further prophecies of His work here on earth.  For right now, He was merely a baby in a manger.

Too many feel that joy is the product of circumstance.  They wait for something to come into their life that will create feelings of happiness, joy or peace.  For them, joy is something that happens to you, not something that you carry with you.

Consider the expectation of the birth of a child and the mixed emotions that are a part of the waiting.  When the day of delivery comes there is an abundance of happiness.  But the real expectation is for the change that the coming of the child will bring in the days that follow.  Life will be different; and that joy of the promise is the deeper joy that fills the thoughts of the parents and family.  Receiving the child into their homes and lives will transform their lives.  The same is true with Jesus.

How many missed the coming of the child that night but “received their King” later - a blind man sitting by a roadside, a tax collector whose life was transformed by the Master, a woman caught in adultery, some fishermen who laid down their nets and followed - all found joy.  I received Him and I pray you have as well but the joy I find in His coming is not just the experience of today but the promise of tomorrow and all of eternity.

“Joy to the World, the Lord has come” is not an empty pronouncement but the invitation to receive a new perspective on our lives and our world.  As we anticipate His impact on our today and our tomorrow we can experience the joy of His presence and power.  His coming changed eternity for all men but it can also change our today as we joyfully live in the hope He brings for our future. Receive the gift the King has given! 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Wise Men Find Joy

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."  When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  Matthew 2:1-3
Many songs we sing at Christmas are reminders that Christmas time is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Songs like “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” “Jingle Bells,” and “have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” all communicate loud and clear that Christmas time is to be a joyous, trouble-free season

But the truth is that not all of us feel “merry and bright” this time of year.  Sometimes the circumstances of our lives snuff out the “magic” of the Christmas season.  The world doesn’t look like a winter wonderland, just winter.  Disillusionment at Christmas is not an unusual thing. We are bone tired and weary from shopping, Christmas programs at school and church, and one party after another.  We get so hyped up with expectations about what Christmas is supposed to be that often the real thing doesn’t measure up…and we are disappointed.

What can you do this Christmas to avoid disillusionment? How can you improve your level of joy this Christmas? The answer may be found in the story of the Magi (the Wise Men) in Matthew 2.  

The Wise Men
These men had set out on a journey following the star to find this newborn King. From the attitudes of these wise men and the events that surrounded their journey, we see how we can raise our level of joy at Christmas.  They arrive unexpectedly from "the east." They ask their troubling question, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?" igniting a flurry of activity.  There is the private meeting with Herod, the sudden reappearance of the star, and their worship of the tiny Jesus.

·         Our level of joy at Christmas is directly related to what we seek. 

Have you ever had that kind of experience—when you were disappointed by Christmas because it did not deliver what you thought it would? The problem is not Christmas. It is in our expectations. We are looking for the wrong thing.

The Magi in Matthew 2 show us how to increase our level of joy at Christmas by looking for the right thing.  What was it they were looking for? Verse 2 tells us. They came to Jerusalem and said, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” They were looking for Jesus. Christmas for them was an opportunity to worship Jesus.  That is what we need to be looking for and expecting this Christmas—an experience of worship, a fresh glimpse of Him who was born King of the Jews. If our goal this Christmas is to worship Jesus, then I doubt very seriously we will be dissatisfied with our experience.

·         Our level of joy at Christmas is directly related to where we look.

We learn from the Magi that there are wrong and right places to look for Christmas. They started by looking in the wrong place.  The Magi went where kings should be born—to the palace of Herod the Great in the capital city of Jerusalem. But what a mistake that was! When Herod heard of the birth of a new king, his jealousy was aroused and he determined to seek him out and destroy him.

The Magi looked in the right place when they looked to God. The trip to Jerusalem was not a total loss. While there they discovered where they should have looked in the first place—the Bible. The scribes in Jerusalem said that according to the prophet Micah the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. With this new information, they looked again at the star and followed it to Bethlehem until it stood over the house where the child Jesus was living. We can experience joy at Christmas – and all year – when we look for the right things in the right places.
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; And my soul, which you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Give More Joy

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

A few years back there was a theme at Christmas called the Advent Conspiracy.  The focus was on Spending less, worshiping God fully, and giving more – more love, more peace, more time, more joy, etc.  This time of year we are encouraged to think outside and live outside our own wishes and desires and reach out with both with gratitude and with generosity. GIVE MORE doesn’t have to mean SPEND MORE!  “Giving More” is about becoming more deeply connected with people and needs in a way that really matters. God’s gift to us is a relationship built on love. The epitome of relational giving is the incarnation.  Emmanuel means God with us.  We believe that in Christmas, God became incarnate in Jesus.  He gave Himself to us as a baby and then in sacrifice on the cross.

The Perfect Act - that He gave

When your heart is right then your actions will follow. The action of love is to give...personally, sacrificially and sufficiently.  Relational giving for Christians means giving of ourselves in ways that makes God present in the lives of others. It means giving of ourselves in ways that bring healing, hope, peace and reconciliation to the lives of others who need those very things from God. It means giving of our own lives in ways that help to bring new life to others who may be despairing of the lives they are living.  You can’t do that with a new phone or a new TV.  The incarnation happens every time Christians choose to give more of God through themselves for the sake of others.

The Perfect Gift - His only begotten Son
The value of a gift should be determined by the difference it makes in the life of the one receiving and giving.  God saw our need. He recognized our helplessness. He gave a gift we cannot repay.  This was a grace gift.  It is the real definition of a gift. It has no obligation attached to it at all.
When we consider the perfect gift, the best place we can turn is the gift God gave us in Christ at Christmas.  He sent His only Son as a tiny baby to be the savior of the world, yours and mine.

When we have enough plus more than we need, it places us in the position of being responsible for stewardship of God’s resource.  Which end do you want to be on? Not to use God’s resource for His purpose will cause us to be troubled by discontent and a hunger for more as we put more trust in our resources and consume them on ourselves. Seeing and touching the needy brings a response of love which cannot be created by pictures or words. Do you really know the needs of the people in your life…home, workplace, community?  Where is God calling you to give more this Christmas?  Who around you needs more joy?  You may not feel that you have any extra joy to give but when we give of ourselves, we end up with more joy than we had to start with. The joy we get from God is never ending.  It doesn't run out when we give it away - He continues to refill it.  This Christmas season give away some of the joy you have found in Jesus.      

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Joy Made Full

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  John 15:11

People often think of what makes them happy when you mention joy.  True joy is not about what makes us happy at all.  True joy comes from the inside and has nothing to do with emotions or circumstances.  Joy cannot be given or taken from us.  It is born in our hearts and nothing can steal it - not people or circumstances - unless we let them.

Some definitions of Joy are: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation; caused by over all contentment, soul satisfying incidents.

Joy is a state of being. Happiness is temporal and conditional. Happiness is an emotion dependent on personal feelings. Joy is the unconditional state of mind that accompanies fellowship with God. It is characterized by great wellbeing.

It is far better to seek "joy" as opposed to happiness.  Joy is related to happiness, but it is a deeper experience.  In the search for happiness we usually focus on ourselves, but joy moves us out of self-centered preoccupation and towards focus on others.  Joy is an experience which connects us to that which is "Greater" than we are.

The Greek word for 'joy' is derived from the Greek word for 'grace.' This is important to note, for it tells us categorically that joy comes from the grace of God. This means 'joy' isn't a human-based happiness that comes and goes.  Rather, true 'joy' is divine in origin.  It is a Spirit-given expression that flourishes best in hard times. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Joy is not dependent on circumstances.
For most people happiness is possible, but it’s also fickle, shallow, and fleeting. As the Word itself implies, happiness is associated with happenings, happenstance, luck, and fortune. If circumstances are favorable, you are happy; if not, you’re unhappy.  Christian joy, however, is directly related to God and is the firm confidence that all is well, regardless of your circumstances.  In Philippians 3:1 Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord.” The Lord is both the source and object of Christian joy. Knowing Him brings joy that transcends temporal circumstances. Obeying Him brings peace and assurance. If we are willing to give up the search for happiness, (self) we may find true joy.

This time of year it is especially easy to make the joy we have completely dependent on circumstances such as who can and can’t come home for Christmas, how much we get, how much we can give, if the decorations look perfect or if the ham is moist. Focusing on all the things of Christmas will cause us to miss the true message of Christmas – the King in the manger who brings true joy.

Monday, December 16, 2019


Monday, December 16, 2019

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “  Luke 2:10-11 ESV

This week of Advent the focus is on Joy -  A kingdom had many needs, and the subjects of that kingdom would look to the king in order for those needs to be met. If the subjects of a kingdom were in need, it became a burden to the people and did not reflect well on the king. A good king would know what his people required and would lead them in such a way that they would have it before they knew they needed it. A kingdom that was fully supplied was a kingdom that experienced joy and the king was integral to making that possible. Therefore, the joy of a kingdom was not found in its possessions or its circumstances; the joy of a kingdom was found in the ability of its king.

God’s people waited in joyful expectation for their king, The Messiah, for years.  It is hard to be joyful about something you have been promised is going to happen, but it is not happening.  Yet they were joyful because of their faith in the promise of what God would do, not what He had already done in their presence.  The birth of Jesus, our King, met the greatest need that you and I would ever have – the forgiveness of our sins. Any other earthly need we may encounter pales in comparison to what has been provided to us by our King, Jesus. He is everything we could ever need or want.  He is sufficient in and for all things and the only true source of joy.  So, if you think joy comes from what you possess, you will always be in want. If you think your joy comes from the circumstances you face, you will always be worried. In His forgiveness we find freedom, a freedom that truly brings joy because it frees us from the burden of the debt of sin.  The burden of debt is heavy and the penalty we would have to pay without our King is death but, in His forgiveness, we find life everlasting.  This Christmas focus on the gift of forgiveness that our King Jesus gave us.  Find joy in His freedom from sin. The weight has been lifted and the

We also can live in joyful expectation of the second coming of our King.  We also can live in the joyful expectation of what He will do in our lives today, tomorrow, and for years to come.  We can live in joyful freedom because of the sacrifice He made. 

The prophet Habakkuk offered this wisdom, Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV. Our joy in life does not come from what we have or encounter. It comes from knowing the King – Jesus Christ.

Devotional Archive