A Sign

A Sign

“And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 A sign. Evidence. Proof. This whole scene must’ve only taken moments to complete, but who could believe what was happening before their very eyes? Who could trust what they were seeing? Their minds were sure to play tricks on them, and they were sure to talk themselves out of it, believing they had a crazy dream. But God gave them a sign. He invited them to test the word and see if it was real. Of course, they did and found everything just as they were told. Then they became eye-witnesses to the event. They told everyone what they had seen and heard. Once you and I hear the Good News, we test it out and discover it’s true, then we can’t help but become like the shepherds, like the woman at the well, like the delivered demoniac, the Apostles, and so forth....
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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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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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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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Immanuel

Immanuel

“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 It was the darkest and most lonely existence. She could’ve never imagined it. All hope was snuffed out and what remained for the once beautiful appointed one was the agony of lost dreams and purpose. In the beginning, the appointed and created one was the picture of beauty. She was conceived in love, and the plans for her life and future were set in place. She would one day take her place and dispense righteous wisdom and benevolent justice as her father's representative. Her world was lush and fruitful. It was vibrant and alive with expectation. As she walked through the garden of her world, all creation rejoiced in her presence. Her eyes saw nothing but good and her spirit was alive and brought energy to the remainder of her being. From her spirit she knew things, she...
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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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The Hope Found In Change

The Hope Found In Change

In the space of six hours, I found myself having the same conversation with two different people. This is not uncommon for me, as I have found many of my friends, family, and acquaintances are struggling with similar issues, so I have become an evangelist of sorts advocating change and offering hope. My story began years ago, but the catalyst to change occurred around four years ago. I've always struggled with digestive issues, but one April morning I found myself waking to excruciating abdominal pain requiring an expensive ER visit that yielded no diagnosis for the cause of my pain other than inflammation - I’ve since learned that many chronic health issues are related to inflammation. For several years leading up to this incident, I heard the whispering of God’s voice in my heart encouraging me to make a change in my diet. I was fascinated with the gluten-free diet and celiac disease. I didn't want to make such a drastic...
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