Archive for December, 2012
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:2,3,5).
As you contemplate resolutions for the coming new year, consider this–you are created for more than weight loss, debt management, a new job, a dream trip, reducing, reusing, and recycling. All of these things may be important and necessary but we are designed for more. Set your mind on things above and consider the possibilities.
“How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion” (Psalm 84:5)!
Too often strength and confidence is found in one’s present circumstances. We become settled; comfortable. Faith, however, embraces life as a highway; living with the anticipation of turns, exits, detours; a journey filled with both the expected and unexpected; strengthened by the watchful presence of God, who has established our final destination.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…” (Isaiah 43:2).
I’ve always been comfortable in and around water. Even so, my one experience with whitewater rafting left me shaken and pledging that I would never do it again. I realized my comfort level is in the stillness and familiarity of a lake or pond, not the uncertainties of a moving river and raging rapids. In reflection I recognize that life is more like that dreaded river–moments of sheer terror that must be endured while clinging to the promise of still waters that lie ahead. Time and time again, from the Red Sea to the Jordan River, God’s faithfulness has been proven through the watery paths that would stand between His people and their ultimate destiny.
“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John 1:4).
The toll life takes can skew one’s perspective…dreams fade; hope dims. The life of Jesus points to possibilities greater than anything we could have ever imagined. Embodying human flesh did not drain life from Jesus but, rather, He brought life to human existence. His is a testimony of what our life can and will be.
“While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth” (Luke 2:6).
On this day, God’s gracious and long-anticipated plan of a redeeming Savior was birthed into the intersection of human affairs. This unspeakable gift offering of the very first Christmas continues to be unwrapped as His presence is born-again in each of us. What God has done, He is doing, and will do. Be a Merry Christmas for all those that cross your path.
“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed” (1:48).
Those who want to make a mark on this world are consumed with their own name, accomplishments, and legacy. Kingdom-makers are those of a humble state, committed to the purposes of God, and avail themselves to Him. These are the ones who leave a legacy of faith that can be measured only in time and eternity.
“And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all” (Hebrews 5:10).
There isn’t enough piety or religious expression to cover our greatest need. There isn’t enough sacrificial blood from bulls and goats to make things right with God. What we could not and cannot do for ourselves He has a accomplished for us once and for all through His Son. His will trumps our way.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
Don’t be fooled by swaddling clothes and manger scenes. The peaceful and serene depictions offered by church pageants, accompanied by tunes of Silent Night, fail to capture the chaos and brokenness of this world order into which Christ entered. The Prince of Peace waged and won the war and, thus, we are finally prepared and equipped to do battle.
“And she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
While gathering with the saints for corporate worship is a formative discipline expected in the life of every believer, going to church can be deceiving. Worshipping behind stained glass while seated on padded pews can leave the impression that the life of faith is intended to be comfortable; easy; pleasant. The context of both our Savior’s birth and His eventual crucifixion comes to say otherwise. Sometimes there is a very real barnyard stench about life with painful consequences. The promise of Christmas, however, is that there is a resurrection coming.
“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth” (Luke 2:1).
Earthly kings and temporal kingdoms concern themselves with head-counts for the purpose of taxation. The Prince of Peace, who rules over an everlasting Kingdom, focuses on loving relationships for the purpose of salvation. Choose an allegiance that lasts.