Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone

I spent a good portion of this past week praying with family and friends who are all in difficult circumstances this Christmas. Financial struggles, relationship issues, health concerns and a host of other prayers were lifted high to our Savior this week. On a particularly hard day, I decided to venture out on an errand and hopefully gain a fresh perspective. It was windy, rainy and cold. As I pulled into a parking spot, I wondered if my trip was really necessary. People were running with their carts and bags getting soaked. Surely this could wait another day. Then it happened…I watched a man jump out of his car, take his umbrella and run over to a lady pushing her cart through the rain with all her purchases. He walked all the way to the end of the lot, holding his umbrella over her, to keep her from getting drenched! It made me smile and I'm sure it did the lady too.

As I got back home, I thanked God for the fresh perspective. He provides what we need, when we need it. He's always with us.

"…And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…." (Isaiah 9:6b)

My prayer for you this Christmas and in the New Year is that you see Jesus. When you need wisdom or encouragement, He is your Counselor. When you need an advocate, someone in your corner, He is your Mighty God. When you need to be loved and comforted, He is your Father. And when you need to be settled and secure, He is your Prince of Peace. Look for Him, Your Emmanuel, He is with you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

For God so loved...

John 3:16-I've known this verse for as long as I can remember. If you grew up in church or have been around it for any time, you probably have it memorized also. Say it with me...

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

As I looked at the verse again this week, it occurred to me that I've always thought of it in light of Jesus' crucifixon-He gave His life for me and for you. That's a true statement. However, the giving of His life began when Jesus took on flesh and entered this world.

And the reason He did was because He loves us. I'm so thankful that in my quest to remember this Christmas season why He came, that Jesus gave me fresh perspective straight from His word! How sweet is that? Ask Him and He'll do the same for you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More on the reason He came…

In my quest to remember and reflect on why Jesus came this season, I came across some verses in Titus 2. Actually I read these a week ago, but posting took a back seat to life!! The verses are 11-14 and are in the New Living Translation:

"For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds."

Jesus came to reveal His grace to all people. Ephesians 2:8, 9 teaches us that it is by this grace that we are saved. Jesus came to save us and it's only by His grace, not by anything that we do. The passage goes on to tell us that our role as believers while we live in this world is to be wise, righteous and devoted to God, hopeful of Christ's return.

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, the righteousness part of how we are to live has spoken boldly to me. Over the last week, I've truly been dismayed at the very critical nature of believers regarding stories in the media…namely Tiger Woods and Tim Tebow. I do not know either of these men and surely they don't need me to defend them. But neither do they need those of us called to a higher standard to belittle them. As believers looking forward with hope to Christ's return, our words and deeds must be about encouraging His kingdom, not tearing it down. I can't imagine how much God's heart broke over some of the blogs and facebook comments that were posted regarding these stories. As we look for more of Christ during this Christmas season, may we also be more Christ-like. And when we're tempted to be otherwise, let's remember that Christ gave his life so that we could be.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Reason He Came

It's December 1st and this time of year can bring about much anxiety for me. I get overwhelmed by all the additional activities that the holiday season brings. School parties, brunches, visits to the mall, baking, traveling, more visits to the mall and the list just goes on. Too often I have lots of plans and ideas that go undone, because there's just not enough time! This year however, I've decided to try something different. I'm keeping all the peripheral stuff simple and spending some time each day in December remembering and reflecting on why Jesus came.

This morning I began my pursuit by reading 1 Timothy chapter 1. Verse 15 says,

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-"

Jesus came to save us. He was born into this world to save us. It's the reason He came and the greatest gift we can ever accept. In what ways will you remember the reason Jesus came this season?