Friday, December 31, 2021

When You Don’t Hear Anything

 Friday, December 31, 2021 

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. Psalm 32:8-9

When You Don’t Hear Anything

There are those moments in life when silence is golden.  Then there are those moments in life when silence is deafening, and even excruciating.  Those moments come when we are seeking God earnestly with all our heart and get nothing in return.  Your heart is right, your prayers are right on and you are on your knees pleading for His guidance, but still you do not feel the presence of God, you do not sense His direction and you feel like He has forgotten about you.

Don’t despair or give up on God.  He is there, even when it feels like he isn’t. He loves you and knows what is best, especially when you don’t, and if His doesn’t answer you as quickly as you think He should, maybe He has a reason.  Maybe He is working on something or someone.  His time is not our time and when the silence is deafening, listen harder.  It is coming eventually, but be sure you are listening to the right voice!  

We all have friends who love us so much they want to fix our lives for us.  Their answer may not be the answer God has for you.  It may be Biblical, good, solid, sound Christian advice, but it still may not be what God wants you to do in your particular situation.  You have to discern.  You have to keep seeking and keep your focus on God and what He leads you to do.  Study the Bible, pray and listen.

He Speaks

You will hear God speaking to you in that still, small voice that prompts you in your spirit. But, how do you know it is God who is speaking to you? God has given us some direction as to how we can determine His voice from any others we may hear which may come from well friends who love us.  These confirmations will strengthen our faith and enable us to hear God more clearly as we grow in our faith.

How do you know God is speaking to you? - The Tests

The first test is the confirmation of God's written Word - the Bible.
 Everything that God says will agree with His written Word. He will never tell you to sin or go against a teaching in His Word. This simple test can clarify many "messages." We must, however, be careful not to read the written Word with any preconceived ideas of what it is saying. 

The second test is the confirmation of godly counsel. God has placed people in our lives to help us to hear His voice. These people may include pastors, teachers, parents, and godly friends. In most cases, they will confirm the voice of God to you and help you to see His plan. This is not to say that you should rely on them solely. These people are human and can have their own feelings and fears distort their objectivity. However, they can be a very valuable source of confirmation when you are uncertain of God's voice. 

The third test is the confirmation through circumstances. Christians can carefully study their situation for indications of God's will. Come to God with a humble attitude and not a spirit of testing Him. Pray for God to reveal His will and carefully watch the circumstances that relate to that decision.

Wait expectantly- He will be faithful.  The answer is coming. Be ready to accept the answer he gives you. Be open to His guidance.  Accept His love and perfect will for your life.


Thursday, December 30, 2021

A Life of Meaning

 Thursday, December 30, 2021

What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. Ecclesiastes 3:9-10

A Life of Meaning 

This year may not have been the year you had hoped for. Satan has been working overtime to steal our abundant like in Jesus lately. How successful was he at: stealing, killing and destroying the life Jesus died to give you? 

Living a life of meaning and impact is not about doing something different but doing what we do with purpose. Looking back over the past year, how many hours were lost to God your family and others? That is not something we like to think about, but we can be intentional about not losing more time with them this year. 

The circumstances of life have no value in and of themselves, yet we often hinge our whole attitude on them. We even make lots of decisions based on our circumstances. There are a lot of things we can leave behind going into a new year, but our circumstances is not one of them. We simply have to learn how to live the best we can until we get through them. They are a part of life, even if we create them for ourselves, but we still do not have to live defeated in them. Some negative effects of living in circumstances with no purpose:

Circumstances w/o purpose produces weariness. We do things for a variety of reasons. When we truly think about why we do things, we often find that the majority of what we call "motivations" are actually "coercions"... external pressures. These external pressures are what causes us to "toil" in life as the verse above says. Toil is defined as work, extremely hard or incessantly, or exhausting physical labor. It is not a positive thing in the Bible. Work is meaningful and purposeful done in line with the calling of God over our lives. Toil is meaningless work which is a curse. It is always excessive and rooted in unbelief and is caused by worry. 

God never intended for us to “toil away” our lives. We usually toil in our work because we lack purpose, we have created some negative circumstances that we have to work thorough, or we are running from or ignoring what God is telling us to do. We will just “get through” this life if we lack, or lose, purpose.

·      When you lose your purpose, you will lose your energy.

·      When you lose your purpose, you will lose your peace.

·      When you lose your purpose, you will lose your joy.

·      When you lose your purpose, you will lose your life.

Circumstance w/o purpose produces boredom. Physical weariness can certainly drag us down, but it is not as depressing a mental weariness. If our heart is not involved we will have no life in our labor. We are seeing young people busier than any other generation and yet twice as bored with life.

Circumstance w/o purpose produces emptiness. "Unfulfilled" is the key descriptive word for people in our world today. We have generated the capacity to get anything we want and yet still can't get what we need. There are millions that come to the end of life and still don't know why they lived it.

God's design and desire is to control our lives to bring about that purpose and give us the fulfillment He desires. A valid question for today is "How much of daily life is under God's control?"  It is the man who knows God's purpose that can also discover His power and peace in life.

Being responsible to God with time in life can bring us the peace, joy, and fulfillment we have been trying to produce on our own. You can enter this new year with purpose instead of “toiling away” another year. Give your life, your plans, your desires, and your time to Him and ask control your life to bring about the purpose and fulfillment that He already has for you. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The End of a Thing

 Wednesday, December 29, 2021 

The end of a thing is better than its beginning; Ecclesiastes 7:8 

The End of a Thing

As 2021 is drawing to a close, I find I am not so sad this year to see a year go. Although, much like others, after the last two years I am a little apprehensive about what 2022 will bring. I agree with Soloman's words above for this year, and it can certainly apply to many different things in life. 

Maybe you traveled over the Christmas holidays. If so, you know that the end of a trip is infinitely better than the beginning. It always feels so good to come back home and know that all the hours in the car are behind me.  Imagine a ship that leaves for a far port.  When it returns with all its cargo, the captain knows just what storms they weathered in the trip.  He remembers nearly running aground or being swamped.  He recalls the three nights they spent without ever seeing the stars and three days without the sun.  For him, the end of the voyage is clearly better than the beginning.


Or perhaps, we should think of a soldier, going off to war.  Is not the end of a thing better than the beginning for that soldier?  How he longs to complete his tour and be safely home!  This point is obviously true in so many instances in life but it is not absolutely true. It must be taken with a grain of salt.  Some people look at the beginning and ask, “Will the end really be any better?” 

Maybe because you know the storms of 2020 and 2021, you are afraid of what the storms of 2022 will bring.  Will I be able to bear up under them?  Will I have less or more at the end of the year?  How will my family be affected this year?  Yet, Solomon says, no matter how bad the beginning is, the end is always better. 

In our growth as believers, most Christians have more trials early in their Christian walk rather than late.  And all of us are growing in our Christian walk.  Lamentations 3:27 says It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.  If you wake up in the morning and the sun is behind the clouds, you don’t assume that the sun will never shine again. If you are in a dark period of your life, don’t despair, the sun will shine again.


Take this verse from The Message as a prophecy to give you hope and dispel your fears: I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11

The end of the matter will be better than the beginning. God is still in charge. The past is history, the future’s a mystery, but God has given us this moment, that’s why it’s called the present.  It is in this time that God will move us toward that end that He has promised.  So let’s keep our eyes on the prize and move into this year with the understanding that God has a plan and a purpose for 2022 and our future.

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Come Humble Before Him

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing. 

Zephaniah 3:17 


Come Humble Before Him

Christmas is over and after Christmas is over, everything “Christmas” feels so done. The tree, the lights, the music, it all loses its magical feeling very quickly. But I have been thinking about Jesus and His birth. It should never feel done or get old in our hearts. 

Jesus came to us in the most vulnerable conditions and in the most vulnerable way. He was born in a stable, surrounded by donkeys and shepherds. He came as a tiny baby, completely dependent on someone to love Him, care for Him, and meet His needs - to feed Him and clothe Him and make sure He is warm and has what He needs. 

This tiny baby, so vulnerable and humble, is the source of everything we need and want. He came as a baby, 100 % dependent on others to sustain His life. And we are 100% dependent on Him for life - abundant life here on earth, and eternal life in Heaven. He came to earth humbly and are invited to come to Him in the same way, humble in our sin but loved, cared for and having every need we have met by Hm. 

Everything He gives us is the very best for us. Everything we fill our lives with is not. It is heavy. It makes our hearts sick and deceives us into believing it will give us that we need. When we measure everything against the humble King of Kings, nothing measures up. 

What needs to go from your life? A friend recently posted “Even if she carries it well, it doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy.” What is heavy that you are carrying that you don’t need? What is making your heart sick? A tiny baby was born to take that burden and bring you everything you could ever need. Give the other stuff up and let Him in. Make room for Jesus and all He gives. 


Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17

Monday, December 27, 2021

Beyond Christmas

 Monday, December 27, 2021  

"He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" Matthew 18:2-4

Mary and Joseph Established a Relationship with Jesus!

That Christmas night when they first met Jesus, was for them only the beginning!  From then on, every night, for the rest of their lives, they were with Jesus Christ! 

They did have to leave Bethlehem, but they took Him with them. We know, for instance, that they moved from Bethlehem to Egypt.  Then they moved from Egypt to Nazareth.  But they never moved without taking Jesus with them! There was one time, they slipped up and left Jesus behind in Jerusalem.  But, as soon as they realized He was missing, they immediately went to find Him!  

In Christmas services around the world millions of people came to worship Jesus. But the great majority simply left saying, "Merry Christmas!"  And then went on with life as usual. Only a few who, having seen Jesus Christ, determine never to leave His side again! 

We should always be aware that Christianity is not a religion...IT IS A RELATIONSHIP!  And, if we do get sidetracked and misplace the Lord in our lives, make a beeline back to Him as soon as we figure it out! 

For Joseph and Mary, Christmas was more than a once a year celebration, It was a day by day reality. Does the presence of the Messiah change things?  Only if you enter a relationship with Him. Christmas is only a holiday if you do not receive the gift of God and live in His presence. The promise of faith is peace, joy, love and salvation.  Are those now ours in experience or did we leave Bethlehem without Him?

Mary and Joseph Nurtured Their Relationship with Jesus! 

Raising Children is a growing experience.  Anyone who has raised children knows the parents grow up almost as much as the child does!   As they grow up, they change, and so do you.  A relationship requires constant attention to keep it strong! For one thing, YOU HARDLY KNOW THE CHILD THAT FIRST DAY YOU BRING HIM INTO THE HOUSE! You have to get to know that kid growing up in your home...AND THE TRUTH IS, YOU NEVER KNOW THEM FULLY! You have to learn to be a good parent. 

While the shepherds returned to their flocks... Mary and Joseph stayed there, responsible for the rest of their lives to nurture and develop their relationship with Jesus Christ!  The same is true with our relationship with Christ.  We get to know Him only a little the day we are first introduced to Him as our Savior! We are glad for the relationship, to know we are going to heaven. 

Nurturing – Completing what God has purposed

Mary and Joseph spent not only Christmas, but the rest of their lives growing in their relationship with Jesus. There are too many Christians, who are great people but THEY AREN'T GROWING ANYMORE IN CHRIST!  They know a certain amount about Christ, they are happy with what they know, AND THEY AREN'T INTERESTED IN KNOWING ANY MORE!  Now that Christmas is over, will you simply return to life as normal, perhaps praising God for the chance to celebrate Christmas, but really, no different than you were before? Or will you, like Mary and Joseph have your lives radically changed by Christmas? God has a purpose for all He does…and it will always result in a change in our lives

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas


May the coming of Christ make a difference in your life.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as only of the Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Light of the World

Thursday, December 23, 2021 

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. John 1:4-9


The Light of the World

Snoopy of Charlie Brown comic strip fame is typing a novel. He begins his story, "It was a dark and stormy night ..." Snoopy always starts his stories in this manner. Lucy looks at what Snoopy has written. She goes into a tirade, putting down Snoopy for such a silly beginning. Doesn't Snoopy know that any good story starts with the words, "Once upon a time ..."


The last frame of the comic strip has Snoopy starting his story again. Now he is ready. He types, "Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night." Do you feel like Snoopy sometimes? No matter how you begin your story you somehow revert to "a dark and stormy night." If you feel that way today, you are not alone. Most of us are struggling in one way or another to overcome the darkness of this world.


There is a lot of darkness in life.  There are times where it seems we will never break into the light again.  The Bible speaks of all mankind apart from Christ being in darkness and in need of the light.  The book of Job speaks repeatedly about the darkness of life as he struggles with his troubles.  It was into this darkness that God sent His light. 


It is light that dispels the darkness by revealing the truth about it.  In the darkness of our despair, fear rises up in us for what we think could be there.  We find ourselves groping and timidly searching our way along in life.  What is it we need?  We need light...the light that enlightens us to the truth about the darkness and thus strikes down our fears.


It is light that brings understanding.  It is light that brings hope.  It is light that brings security.  It is light that brings salvation.


Out of all the metaphors for Christ, this is one that all Christians can agree on; that Jesus has brought light to our lives.  It is through His truth that we have been set free.  He has conquered the darkness by revealing not just our sin but His cross!  


The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; 
Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Isaiah 9:2


The light of the world is Jesus!


For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness. Psalms 18:28


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Good News For All People

 Wednesday,  December 22, 2021   

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And so 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; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:9-11


Good News For All People 

That dark night long ago, when the shepherds were in the field watching their flocks, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared bringing good news of great joy. This good news of great joy literally means that this angel preached the gospel to these shepherds. This angel was bringing the gospel – for all people. These outcasts had received the most inviting and wonderful news that anyone could ever receive. 

Angels are messengers of God, and their primary function is delivering the message of God. The message they brought that night was good news for everyone! It was good news for the outcast, the poor, the uninvited, the socially awkward, the lonely, the unpopular, the imperfect, the sinner.


Jesus came for all people, from every spectrum and society, every level of learning, every level of living, and of degree of wealth. No one is outside of the range of people for whom Jesus came; Jesus came for everybody from the shepherds to the kings. The message from God that a Savior is born, was carried past the city of Jerusalem, past the Temple, past the scribes, past the priests, and delivered into the hands of the forgotten ones…the shepherds. In this picture, we are reminded that Jesus came for people like the shepherds – people like us. Not the religious elite, the politically savvy, or the rulers of the people. The shepherds are the metaphor for the kind of people Jesus came to save. 

And they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen Him, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it were amazed about the things which were told them by the shepherds… And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.  Luke 2:16-18

The shepherds knew they were sinners in need of a Savior. They had received the good news of the gospel, seen the baby Jesus, and now they had a mission. They heard the story, but then they had an encounter. The ones who watch the lambs in the fields, the Temple lambs, were the first to see the Lamb of God, the One who takes away the sin of the world. They had good news to tell so they went and told others about this baby and His gospel message. Those they told marveled at all they said. We have a responsibility to tell this message to others as well.  

What's The Good News?

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."  Matthew 1:21 The word “save” means to “snatch others by force from serious peril.” Jesus came to snatch us away from sin. We need to be rescued from sin itself and we must be saving others!  And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.  Jude 1:22-23

The best news of Christmas is that Jesus came for all people – to save all people. We are never too unworthy and too far gone. He came and opened the gates of heaven for all. This is the good news we need to share with others and just like the shepherds who were glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them, we need to glorify and praise Him because we know this to be true as well. We know the good news of the gospel is true because we have seen it played out over and over in our lives in all the ways God is faithful. 

Share the good news of great joy which will be for all people this season. 









Tuesday, December 21, 2021

You Are Invited

Tuesday, December 21, 2021    

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; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 

Luke 2:8-11 


The Least Likely To Be Invited

The King of Kings is finally here! The most noble and holy and pure and righteous human being has been born. Who is the first to know? You might think it would be kings, nobility, dignitaries, the most important people. But God chose some of the most lowly of people to be the first to know – the Shepherds. 

From Shepherds: The Forgotten Ones

Shepherds were often, if not perpetually, in contact with the remains of dead animals, rendering them ceremonially unclean in accordance with the Law of Moses. Being ceremonially unclean prohibited the shepherds from entering the temple and worshiping God. Therefore, if you could not go to the temple, you could not worship God because they believed the presence of God dwelled in the temple.  So, the shepherds lived in this spiritual dilemma. Due to this dilemma, it is easy to see how shepherds were looked down on in their culture. Always unclean, absent from the temple, and cut off from the presence of God; shepherds were always on the outside looking in. These unclean men, guilty under the law, were chosen by God to be the first people to meet His perfectly spotless Lamb who would be the ultimate sacrifice for their sins, as well as ours.

I can imagine what they were doing out in the field that night. Maybe discussing their families, the problems they were having with their teenagers. Maybe they were planning to go out after they were done working. Maybe they were particularly busy that night - or particularly slow. Whatever they were doing, they were completely unsuspecting of what was going to happen. Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared telling them Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And then… the whole sky lit up and And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased. Luke 2:13-14

This is only the second time in the whole Bible that a group of angels - rather than one angel - had appeared, proving that they had a very important message to give to them. As soon as the angels left, the Shepherds went straight to the manger:

When the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem, then, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen Him, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it were amazed about the things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:15 - 18

You Are Invited...

So, the King of Kings is born, and first ones to know about Him and to visit his manger are the Shepherds. This should not be lost on any of us! The most unsuspecting, and some of the lowliest of people were given the honor of His first moments on earth. The lesson here is that Jesus came for the Shepherds. He came for everyone, but He wanted those who thought they were “not worthy enough” to even go to church to have the very first announcement and visitation. Such an honor. He gives us the same, as unworthy, and lowly as we can be. He came for us and He loves us just as we are. He gives us the same invitation the Shepherds received. We are invited into His very presence, to honor and worship Him – a gift for Him. And He gives us the gift of salvation and eternal life. So next time you feel like the "least likely" to be chosen for something, remember that you already have been chosen by the most Holy King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You have been chosen, loved, valued, redeemed, restored, and invited to the manger every day. Don't ignore this invitation. God promises us salvation when we accept His invitation, but He doesn't promise us tomorrow.  Accept it now, the greatest gift ever given to mankind.

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.  Acts 4:12

Monday, December 20, 2021

And The Word became Flesh

Monday, December 20, 2021 Submitted by Van Houser

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NASB

And The Word became Flesh

When we have an emotion, a thought or an idea that we need to communicate, we use what are called “words”.  Words convey our desires and our dreams.  They also convey our heart and priorities.  We use words every day and yet fail to realize that they create worlds.  The words we speak become the very surroundings that we exist in.  The Psalmist proclaimed that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Genesis states that it was by words that the world was created.

God desired to reveal His heart for mankind; He wanted us to know His love.  He also wished for us to understand His desire to redeem us from the consequences of our sin and separation from Him.  But all the words of heaven could not communicate fully with man.  God needed a “word” from heaven that man could understand.

Christmas is all about God’s love and plan.  It is the revelation in flesh of His desire for us.  John 1:1 speaks of Jesus as “the word” which was in existence in the beginning, and John 1:14 shares that the word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  Jesus is the “word” that existed before the foundation of the world.  Jesus is the one who threw open the door of eternity and came into our world of time to share the heart of the Father.

This is what Christmas is all about.  The angels said to the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  A Savior…from what?  Who is it that needs one?  According to the angel it is for all the people.  

People who truly know God, know that He is holy and requires His people to be holy.  The very word “holy” means separated from or other than.  Without holiness, no one can find fellowship with God.  People who know God, and know themselves, realize that they are sinners and therefore separated from God.  All our attempts at being good can never attain “holy” because we are already flawed from sin.  Today’s righteousness will not counteract yesterday’s sin.  So where does that leave us?  We are separated from God.  Not only that, we are hopeless in our own power to find fellowship and eternal life in God.  

Mankind needed a “word” from God and The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” so that we could be delivered from our sin!  It is precisely to this hopelessness that the angel brought the good news”… “a savior is born!”  Hope is alive!  Joy is restored!  Peace with God and man is possible!  All because God so loved the world that He sent His only son.” 

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, John 1:12 NASB


Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Journeys of Christmas - Shepherds: The Forgotten Ones

The Journeys of Christmas

Shepherds: The Forgotten Ones

Luke 2:8-11

The Christmas story without shepherds wouldn't be the same, would it?  Despite not knowing their names or how many there were, they are more than mere characters in our Nativity sets. The shepherds portray what the Gospel is all about. 


 I.     The Shepherd’s Dilemma Luke 2:8

·  Being ceremonially unclean prohibited the shepherds from entering the temple and worshiping God. 

·  Always uncleanabsent from the temple, and cut off from the presence of God; shepherds were always on the outside looking in.

·  God chose shepherds! This tells me that no one is too far from God!

II.     The Angel’s Declaration Luke 2:9-11

·  The word angel means “messenger.” They have the primary function of delivering the message of God.

·  The angel’s message to the shepherds was good news of great joy.

·  The angel’s message to the shepherds was for all people.

III.     Christ Did Not Just Come To The Shepherds…He Came Because Of Them

·      The word “save” means to “snatch others by force from serious peril.” 


·  Until you embrace the fact that you’re a sinner, you’re not open to embracing the fact that God sent you a Savior.

IV.     The Significance of Acceptance

·  Our Father desires to bring us all into His embrace through His Son, Jesus Christ.

·  Just to be clear, God does not intend to leave you in your sin, but to transform your life and bring the peace and joy He promises.  It’s called sanctification.


Friday, December 17, 2021

A Promise For All Eternity

 Friday, December 17, 2021

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; or unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:8-12

“Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King!”

Christmas carols are playing and the message we hear once again is the hope 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, this time of year we can misplace our hope, singing the songs out of tradition and missing the message of Christmas.  The King of Kings, Jesus, has come.  He is the long-awaited Messiah, the hope of the world.

“Let earth receive her King.”  We easily misplace our hope not because God has not provided the needed gifts, 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 hope 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.  

"You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth”.  Luke 1:14

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Finding Joy in a Season of Heartache

Thursday, December 16, 2021

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Finding Joy in a Season of Heartache

A spark of joy. A stark contrast to the cold darkness of a breaking heart. Can we really find joy when we can barely get a breath because of the crushing pain we feel inside? The answer is yes, we can. And when we get that spark of joy, we can also get a spark of hope. No, not just a spark, we will abound in hope.

How can we find joy in a season of heartache? We find joy and peace in believing. Sometimes when we are in a season of heartache, we forget what we believe. Everything feels so bad that we talk ourselves into believing that there is nothing to believe in. And Satan dances. He loves for us to forget the goodness of God and the things He has already done for us. Thankfulness is the key that leads to joy and peace and hope. When we have the perspective of gratitude, eyes that see, we will find joy, even in heartache. 

Christmas can be a really hard time of year if your heart is heavy. Every single carol, children’s performance, Advent sermon, and candle lighting tips a heavy heart to the spilling over side. When your heart is heavy, every side is the spilling over side. But even in sadness, joy can still be found when we remember and believe. Joy sometimes comes when you least expect it. Even in heartache, even when we don’t understand, we know Him. Even if we don’t feel it, we know about Him and because we know, we can believeBecause we believe we can have joy and peace

So that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

What happens when we find joy and peace in believing? We abound in hope in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we can’t – He can. In His power we can abound in hope – an unexpected gift tucked into finding joy and peace in believing. Who would have expected that? Finding joy and peace is a real stretch, but then comes hope – in a season of heartache. Thankfulness – joy – peace – hope. 

I hope if your heart is heavy this Christmas, that you remember what you believe. I hope you remember and find peace and joy and that special gift of hope brought to you by the power of the Holy Spirit.  All joy and peace in believing – believing in Him to take care of your broken heart. Believing in Him to bring you the joy and peace and hope only He can give. Even with everything you may be feeling, there couldn’t be a better Christmas gift than that. 

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.
1 Peter 1:8

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