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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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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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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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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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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The Desire of All Nations

The Desire of All Nations

“And I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,” says the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2:7 My absolute favorite Christmas carol is O, Holy Night. The words just move me. They speak to me and evoke a sense of awe, gratitude, and joy. “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees…” The Desire of All Nations is humanity’s answer to the pining of the soul for value and worth. Without Him, we are nothing. We are hopelessly lost until we encounter the One our soul was made to love and adore. Whether anyone wants to admit it, each soul is designed to pine after Jesus, and until that desire is met in Him, all other pursuits are empty vanity....
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Glory Revealed

Glory Revealed

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 40:5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, but how? When the previous four things are accomplished, the glory of God can be seen. His glory is evident in salvation and by the manifestation of Jesus in human flesh. From the beginning of creation, God planned for His glory to be revealed through mankind. As men and women obeyed God by taking dominion over the affairs of the earth, they would rule righteously from a close and intimate relationship with God. This was glorious: God and man working together. Then there was the fall, the great disobedience that cast all of mankind into the dark ugliness of sin and bondage. Not so glorious. But God would not abandon His plan, His dream, for mankind; nor would He give up on the notion that the devil would be defeated by man...
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