Friday, December 21, 2018

Titus 2:11-3:8a

God gave and brought salvation for all people.  As we mature, we are to move toward renouncing ungodliness and living godly lives in this present age, while waiting for our blessed hope as we wait for our reunion with Christ.  He redeemed us and called us his own.  He created and called us for his glory and our good.

In our politically divisive time it is important to remember our respect for those in authority and for one another in general.  We are told, speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle and show courtesy toward all people.

We too are not perfected or saved by our works but by his own mercy.  Those who believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.  These are the things that are excellent and profitable for people.  Peace does not come through winning arguments but by listening to one another.

We are to avoid foolish controversies, and so on about the law.  For they are unprofitable and worthless.  This doesn’t mean we can’t discuss, but let’s do so with the goal to edify and build up the Kingdom by encouraging the body of Christ!  We show that our Lord is the Prince of Peace when we live with a heart of peace to bring world to peace.

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Jeremiah 31:31-34

God’s promise through the Prophet Jeremiah, talks about a time that is coming so we can both look for it and look forward to it.  The promise anticipates its fulfillment.  When we know what is happening ahead of time, we can also understand God’s faithfulness in a whole new way.

There is a new covenant coming, not like the old covenant written on stones, highly visible but easily broken.  This new covenant is not written in stone but on the soft and broken hearts of those that love him.  His law is a heartbeat away.  It is a movement from ritual obligation to life saving relationship.

God will be our God and we will be his people.  This is not a deal or transaction.  This is about transformation and belonging to one another in relationship.  What a wonderful gift to belong to God.

The greatest of these promises we are still waiting for, which is that there would be no longer any need for evangelism, for all our neighbors from the least to the greatest would know the Lord.

God will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.  This is truly a promise I am looking forward to when everyone will have God in their hearts.

Will you pray with me and work to make it happen?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Zephaniah 3:14-20

We should sing and give praise to God.  God has sent salvation in the long-awaited Messiah.  The coming of the Messiah is nearly at hand.  He will remove the enemies.  When the Lord, the righteous king and judge are in your midst, you won’t have to fear evil or wrongdoing against you.

We need not fear or grow weak our Lord and God is among us listen for his voice.  God is mighty and will save us.  Like a loving Father he will rejoice over us with gladness.

God rejoices over us as his own.  When we are upset or anxious, “he will quiet” our angry motives, out cries, and anxious hearts, “he will quiet you by his love.”  What else do we need.  God will exult over us with loud singing.  God is here, God loves you, and sings over you.  That brings hope to my heart.  I hope it does to yours as well.

God will gather those who mourn, who suffer, those who are outcast, and whatever shame we have endured will become praise because God is here.  God isn’t leaving anyone out but is here for us individually and collectively.  God is with us, which is the name Immanuel.  How does knowing God loves you and sings over you help you through each day?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Acts 28:23-31

Paul who had been one who once sought out to persecute and put an end to all those who would seek to follow Jesus.  Paul himself has a miraculous personal encounter with Jesus.  Paul is in Rome trying to convince the people about Christ.  The tools he used from his tradition was from the Law and the Prophets.  Paul was able to convince some but not others.

It is important to remember that even the Apostle Paul had trouble convincing some people about Jesus, we too must know we will, at times, struggle with sharing Christ too.

Paul then refocuses away from those that are not listening to those who may be more receptive.  Salvation is not just for the Jews, but for all people the Gentiles which would include many Christians today.

We can thank God that salvation is for all, including you and me.  Paul’s outreach also helped to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all who would receive.

For us today we can also use Paul’s example to share Christ with all who would listen that some may believe.  When we do this, we are expanding the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Isaiah 11:1-9

This passage is one that describes the coming of the Messiah.  The Messiah will be from the line of Jesse who was the father of King David.

The Spirit of the Lord is with the Messiah.  He will be wise and understand.  Both of these qualities will be helpful as He will be a righteous judge who will judge fairly and make restoration for those who are not or can’t speak for themselves.

The coming of the Messiah will bring about a peaceful time for all of creation.  Natural adversaries will no longer be at odds.  The more aggressive and peaceful predator prey are no longer at each other but are able to live in state of contentment because the Messiah has brought things back to a state of balance.

“They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

There will be a time of peace with no hurt or destruction.  As the knowledge of the righteous increases so will the peace that comes with it.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always.  Many times, during Advent we see our lives getting rushed and with all of the hustle, bustle, and consumerism, we can lose our joy.  It is possible to find everything you need and at the same time lose your joy and your soul.  True joy cannot be found in things but in the Lord.  Joy is not about the condition of life but is derived from its source.

The Lord is at hand.  This is a true statement of Advent that the Lord is at hand.  What does that mean for us?  We do not have to be anxious but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God- the way to combat anxiety with prayer and thanksgivings.

The peace of God will be available to us Christ Jesus. Peace will help to guard our hearts and minds.  When we get anxious our hearts and minds race and we do not make thoughtful and wise decisions.  When our hearts and minds are at peace, we can truly find joy.  May the Peace of God bring joy to your life.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Luke 1:57-66

The birth of John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, was also miraculous.  Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, was older and beyond child-bearing years.  When the Lord spoke to Zechariah, John’s father, he was amazed at how that could be, and God made him mute until he shared the name God desired for his child.

When the time came for Elizabeth to give birth and they showed up on the eighth day to circumcised and name the child, the crown gathered wanting to name the child after his father.  Elizabeth says, “No, his name is John.”  At first, the people are confused that if the child was not named after his father, then perhaps another honored family member.

The crowd thought that Elizabeth was taking advantage of her husband being mute began to try to communicate with him directly.  He then wrote down his name is John.  Immediately with Zechariah’s act of faithfulness he regained the ability to speak, and he immediately spoke, blessing God.

Fear and awe gripped those who were there.  The people shared about the miracle in their midst.  Then they wondered, “What then will this child be?”  We know that this child would be the one who is leading the way, clearing the path for the coming Messiah.  Look carefully, God still is pointing us toward the Son.