Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas



Just as Christ came to be with us two thousand years ago, He is here with us through His Holy Spirit.  Christmas reminds us that the Lord is concerned about us and is active in our lives.  The season also calls us to care about other people and to be active in bringing God’s love into their lives.

 This is a special time of year when people seem to love each other more than at other times.  Perhaps this extra sense of love comes to us because we realize that we have been given so much.  Even most unbelievers have a feeling that much of what they have is a gift.  We Christians know that all we have is a gift from our loving heavenly Father. 

The greatest gift of all is the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.   I would have to say that the resurrection of Jesus is the greatest miracle of all.   But, if there is no incarnation and crucifixion, then there is no resurrection.  I can understand why the Father would raise His Son from the grave.  There is no way I can fathom why He would send His Son in the first place—to come as a human, to live as a commoner, and to die as a thief.  I just don’t get it!  How could He love me that much when I have sinned against Him so often?

So He came.  “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”.    If I can imagine the magnitude of His love, I still cannot see how God can become a little, helpless baby and still run the universe.  But He can and He did.  He is an amazing God—big enough to rule the cosmos yet willing and able to become small for our sakes.  This is what we celebrate

During the season of Advent I am going to re-run the devotional blogs from last year.  I will try to put one up each day.  My prayer is that you will enjoy them and experience Christmas in new and wonderful ways. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Giving Thanks and Giving

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"   II Corinthians 9:15

Read II Cor. 9:5-15

Ever wonder why there are almost 20,000 species of butterflies?  Can you tell me why God made so many different shades and colors?  Why did He make the amazing number and variety of animals?  Have you ever stood at the top of a mountain and looked out at, what seems like, hundreds of other mountains--one after another going on as far as you can see, sometimes with beautiful little puffs of clouds down in the endless valleys?  Sometimes God's extravagance overwhelms me!  As near as I can figure out, the abundance of His creation simply because the Lord is the ultimate gift-giver.  He is a cheerful giver who invented and practices the concept of sowing and reaping.  I haven't planted much, but I have planted enough to know that the more seeds you put out, the more results you have.  And how we have been blessed by God's abundant planting!

He tells us that the one who receives a gift, and realizes it is truly a gift, will be thankful.  So, here is how it works:  God blesses us with wonderful gifts resulting in our giving thanks to Him.. Then, when we understand that we have been blessed, we give gifts of love to others who, in turn, give thanks to God.  Then they give to others and on it goes.  Our awesome God has created a cycle giving that ultimately comes back to Him.

God's ultimate gift, of course, was the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus and the work of His cross is God's indescribable gift to us.  I cannot even describe why we have so many butterflies!  How can I describe why He would give His only Son to come to earth and die a terrible and undeserved death for me who was and is a such sinful man?  He sowed the seed of love in His Son and now is reaping many sons through the resurrection of that first and only begotten Son.

We really have no choice but to be eternally thankful to God and to be abundant givers ourselves.  We live in a needy world and the Lord wants us to be His vehicle to bring, out of His blessings to us, His blessings to other people.  The result will be abundant thanksgiving to the God who loves us and gave His Son for us.





Monday, November 12, 2012

Lost



Have you ever been lost?  When I was a child I thought I was lost.  It was a scary feeling!  But the time just before I realized that I was lost, I was just as lost—I simply didn’t know it yet.  Evangelism is about helping people to be found by God. 
Most lost people don’t know they are lost yet.  Part of our job is to make them see how hopeless their life is without a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Knowing Christ will give them direction, among other desirable things.  They will be able to find their way in life and ultimately into the gates of Heaven.  But now they are almost hypnotized by their aimlessness.  They have become used to their lostness and may think that is the way life is supposed to be.  We have “good news” for them.  God loves them and has a purpose for their lives.  They can find that purpose in Jesus Christ.  Some lost folks have come to realize that they are lost.  They know something is terribly wrong but they don’t know what to do about it.  They may have tried organized religion but found it stale or judgmental.  They need to know the utter joy of being found by the Great Shepherd, Jesus.  We can help them.  We must help them.  We get to help them.

Have you ever lost a child?  I am fortunate in that I have not, but once I could not find my six-year-old son.  The few minutes of sheer panic were unbelievably painful for me.  It is hard for us to understand how an infinite and perfect God could have a similar pain in His heart for His creatures that are lost but the Bible teaches that He does.  His ache for us was so strong that He sent His only begotten Son to die on a cross to bring us back home.  If you have wandered away from the Lord He is looking for you.  From the very moment Adam sinned God came looking for him and called out, “Adam, where are you?”  He will find you if you let Him and He will bring you home and put love, joy, and peace back into your heart.