Do Not Fear

Do Not Fear

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” Luke 2:10 The angel's message is just as relevant today as it was those 2000 years ago. A great light has dawned, and the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. With such an amazing opportunity in this life to know Salvation, it’s hard to believe people remain so resistant to the Gospel message. Deliverance from the bondage to sin and the darkness of the soul seems like an attractive scenario - especially to those who have made already made the great exchange. What holds people back? Often it is fear. The fear of giving up something that’s thought to bring value to one’s life, the fear of never having “fun,” or having to adhere to a long list of dos and don’ts. What initially held you back from surrendering all? The message, “Do not be...
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And Suddenly

And Suddenly

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were greatly afraid. Luke 2:9 Imagine what it would've been like to be one of these shepherds. You're out there in the field watching over the sheep. Perhaps it was lambing season, or maybe it was mating season…either way, the shepherds were required to oversee, guide, protect, and assist the sheep. Were the shepherds gathered around a crackling fire, trying to stave off the creeping cold? Were they guzzling cup after cup of campfire coffee trying to keep their heavy eyelids from shutting? (Did they even have coffee then???) Or, could it be there was howling nearby, and the adrenaline was pumping energy and alertness through their bodies? Whether they were dull from sleepiness or super sensitive from danger nearby, the appearing of the angel jolted them into a whole new realm of consciousness. An angel appeared in bodily form. (Jaw-drop!) We have no real idea...
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An Unlikely Birth Announcement

An Unlikely Birth Announcement

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8 The long-ago prophesied king is born! Prepare the birth announcement! Sent it to all the people who hold grand positions, the kings, the rulers, Caesar, the high priest…not! This king was born without the pomp and circumstance of any other king. He was born in the middle of a cesspool of germs. Can you even imagine? Although the sheep were out in the fields at the time of year when Jesus was born, we don’t know if there were other animals in the stable at the time, but even if there were not, there remained plenty of dust, dirt, and stink. Jesus, God made man, the Creator of man, was born into what was likely the sheep stable. Bethlehem was known as the place where the Passover sheep were bred, raised, and prepared for the Passover. The Lamb of God was...
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A Child Is Born

A Child Is Born

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 If you are at all familiar with Handel's Messiah, then you are probably like me and absolutely cannot read this passage without singing it in your head (or out loud)! It is one of the most anointed choruses ever written and performed. It's a prophetic word. When it was first spoken, it was only a hope. But now we live in-between partial fulfillment and the promise of complete fulfillment to come. You see, Jesus did come as a baby boy. God the Father gave us His Son in human form…you know the story…Jesus is all of these things, but there will be a day when He will be these things while present on the earth. Let’s take a look at each description of Jesus: A Child is...
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Darkness Is Dispelled

Darkness Is Dispelled

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. Isaiah 9:2 At one time you made your home in the darkness, and you lived in the land of the shadow of death. You did. I did. And every other single human being on the face of the planet did. You were born into it. You didn’t ask for it or seek it, at least in the beginning, but being born into it makes it seem normal and inescapable. Then at some point, you saw the light. Maybe you came quickly to the light, or perhaps you resisted and held on to the shadows. But eventually, the goodness of the light penetrated the encompassing darkness and your soul awakened to the joy of the light. I am struck at how we can walk in the light, yet still, be threatened by the dark. The darkness creeps and...
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Turn It On and They Will Come

Turn It On and They Will Come

The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:3 Have you noticed a recurring theme? There's a reason for it. We are such an integral part of God's plan, and He wants to be sure we "get it." Today's verse reflects the cause and effect of light. The light shines, and there is a response. The previous verses indicate the light and glory of the Lord will be upon His people. And because of that light, others who need the light will be drawn to it. God's plan of salvation was always to include all the people of the earth. His glory was intended to cover the entire world, and that can only happen when people all over come to the light of salvation. Anyone who has turned on a light at night can understand this concept. Turn it on, and they will come – bugs cannot resist the light! Jesus confirmed God’s heart to include the...
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The Light That Dispels Darkness

The Light That Dispels Darkness

For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people, but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:2 Driving down the streets of Pleasant Grove in Dallas, TX is similar to entering a third world nation, at least for this middle-class white girl. Somehow I escaped the drug scene at school, and even in college, where drinking was the social norm, I never enjoyed the feeling of drunkenness. I cannot relate to the overwhelming sense of darkness because I grew up in the light. When I was a child, I readily received Jesus as Lord and Savior, and had child-like faith, believing that Jesus cared and wanted to release people from oppression and sickness. But attending church in the inner city has opened my eyes to the pervasive darkness and hopelessness. People living in the grip of poverty – generation upon generation – is inconceivably heart-wrenching. The struggles these dear ones face...
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Arise and Shine

Arise and Shine

Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1 Friend, are you hurting? Have you lost your hope? Is your situation impossible, uncertain, difficult, or all of the above? Maybe you're facing a Christmas without a loved one, maybe you have a health issue, or perhaps you are just frustrated with your life. I don't know what specific set of circumstances you are facing today, but each of us is facing something sad, painful and/or challenging. It's not only challenging to our abilities, emotions, or resources, but it's challenging to our faith. The battle rages whether we want it to or not and it’s easy to feel defeated when things don’t seem to change, or we face long-term difficulties and cycles we can’t seem to break free from. But today’s verse sheds light on the truth of life in Jesus. Arise! Arise out of your despair and look up. The word 'arise' is spoken to...
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I Am Not Ashamed

I Am Not Ashamed

O Zion, you who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” The message of Jesus Christ is good news to the lost and dying, sin-sick world -- although it can be easy to lose sight of that. The world we live in is hostile to the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, it is! Jesus requires that the idols of one's life be displaced and replaced. Submitting to the Lordship of Jesus requires surrendering to self on every level. Jesus warned that there would be resistance when He said, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you." John 15:18 Because of the intense resistance, many are tempted to shy away from the ridicule, shaming, and rejection streaming from the mockers of the world....
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God With Us

God With Us

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23 This is part 2 of 2. You can read part 1 here. When her father heard what had happened to his daughter, he was devastated, but not hopeless. He always knew something like this could happen, so he’d made a plan. He would not leave his beloved daughter in the clutches of the deceiving one, but the only way to rescue his daughter was to become a created one. The deceiving one thought he was so bright. His conceit blinded him from comprehending anything that involved love or self-sacrifice. So, he could never imagine a way for the father to rescue his daughter. In his mind, his trap was airtight, and he thought he had forever foiled the father's righteous influence over creation. Being willing to do absolutely anything for his daughter, the father initiated his plan. He...
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