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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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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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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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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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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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 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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