Peace and Goodwill

Peace and Goodwill

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13-14 Once there was enmity between God and man. Sin came early on in the story of mankind, and because of it, God was separated from His most beloved creation. Man was destined to live in a tragic condition: lost in darkness, tormented, mistreated, used and abused by an insidious slave owner. God’s grand plan seemed eternally ruined. When God created mankind, it was with grandeur. He risked the success of His plan by placing so much choice and authority into man’s hands. Man rebelled and seemingly crushed the life out of God’s expectations. Whenever there is separation from God, there is no peace. And it can seem like there is ill will between God and man. As it turns out, God wasn’t mad at man at all! To prove it, He sent His Son to...
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Your Personal Savior

Your Personal Savior

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 The message of the Good News came to a group of shepherds who in society’s estimation, were on the low end of esteem. They were most likely rough around the edges, perhaps a little dirty – definitely smelled like outside – and likely not educated beyond the basics and their given profession. It is bewildering to the sophisticated and refined of the world to imagine why a god, much less THE God of the universe, would even stoop so low as to communicate with lowly shepherds. The fact that this God did, and still does, by the way, demonstrates the underlying reason for joy in the announcement and the reason He gave His birth announcement to the simple shepherds. Jesus is a personal savior. The angel said to the least of the least: “there is born to you…” To you who do not...
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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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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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The Same Dirt

The Same Dirt

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 Wait! What? A virgin? What in the world? How can that be and what exactly are the implications of such a thing? The virgin birth of Christ is one of the foundational cornerstones of our faith – it’s even in the Apostle’s Creed – and if you’re going to believe in Jesus, you have to believe in the virgin birth too. But why is it important? The virgin birth allowed God to accomplish these two crucial things: Have Jesus be born as a human being Have Jesus be born as a human being without a sin nature This concept can most easily be understood from the Genesis narrative of creation. Genesis 2:7 says: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living...
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Called To Be The Light

Called To Be The Light

“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3 When I read the book of Malachi, my heart grieves for the Lord because this book is about a corrupt priesthood. The irony! The people of Israel as a whole were set apart from all the people of the earth for a particular purpose. That purpose was to be a light and an example to the nations. Their holiness and love for a mighty and loving God were to evoke jealousy that would draw nations to God. As you already know, Israel did not live up to their destiny but rebelled at nearly every opportunity. But within this nation of set-apart ones, there was a microcosm that was called to lead the way in consecration. They were the Levites: the priests. Y'all, it's terrible when the priests...
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Who Can Endure?

Who Can Endure?

“Who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap.” Malachi 3:2 When the Lord appears, it will be with such power and authority that everything will bow before His holy presence. In the day of this prophecy, the expectation was that the Messiah would come in great pomp and circumstance and that His coming would set the wrong things right and deliver the people from oppressive government. Nobody ever imagined the Messiah King coming in a humble, meager way. How could an infant born in a lowly stable in Bethlehem cause such shuddering, and dare I say, dread? What nobody realized is that there were two kingdoms at war in the spirit realm; and that God's enemies were not the obvious realities of an oppressive Roman government or threats of captivity from foreign nations. God's enemies were sin and all of its manifestations. God's most significant concern...
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The Messenger of the Covenant

The Messenger of the Covenant

“Behold I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord. Malachi 3:1 The theme continues! The people (and not just any people, because here in Malachi, we are talking about the priesthood – the ones who out of all people, should’ve been serving the Lord from love) continue to rebel and misrepresent God. Some three hundred years after Isaiah prophesied about a forerunner of the Messiah, Malachi prophesies the exact same thing: God's messenger to prepare the way for the King, Savior, and Deliverer. I love this about the Lord. Time and space are no barrier to Him. His Spirit is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Three hundred years passed, a whole new generation of people came on the scene, and God is still saying the same thing. Humanity continues...
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Make A Way

Make A Way

Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth. Isaiah 4:4 What are the barriers to salvation? Sin. Intellect. Selfishness. Deception. Pride. Fear. Rejection, so on and so forth. When we take today’s scripture in context with the previous three days, there is a progression. First, the soothing balm of comfort is applied to the sin ravaged soul that rejected God. Comfort My people with the knowledge that a Healer, Savior, Deliverer is on the way. Next, the Father declares that the prodigals can come home because their time of rebellion and fighting against God is ending. The time for punishing sin is ending. In the third verse, we find that there must be a messenger and preparation. The crooked way to salvation – the impossibility of following the law – must be made straight. The remedy is coming, but the heart of each individual must be prepared to receive. To receive...
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