Rejoice in His Coming!

Rejoice in His ComingChristmas is almost here! Very soon, we’ll be opening presents, eating a scrumptious Christmas dinner, and getting together with those we love! Most importantly, we’ll be celebrating the birth of our Savior! In the midst of all of the festivities, let’s recognize and remember what Christmas is all about – Jesus coming to save us!

Though the Christmas story took place so many years ago, it still has direct implications on our lives today. The Son of God came to this earth to carry out God’s plan of salvation. His birth truly was good news that holds great joy for each one of us (Luke 2:10), for the little baby who lay in the manger was our Savior. He would one day give His life to redeem us, and rise again, victorious. In Him we have redemption – the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7). Those who believe in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life
(John 3:16).

Christmastime is a season for rejoicing in the coming of our Savior! It’s a time to remember all that He has done for us. This Christmas, may you be filled with joy at the good news of the gospel, and with the peace that comes with knowing that you are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). May you have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! Most of all, may you receive a greater understanding than ever before of all that Christ has accomplished on your behalf, and just how truly accepted, and completely loved you are by your Heavenly Father!

Merry Christmas!

The Greatest Exchange

The Greatest ExchangeAt Christmastime, we exchange presents with those we love. God loved us so much that He gave us the greatest gift of all – His Son, come to save us! At the cross, the greatest exchange in all of history took place – Jesus took our place of sin, so that we could receive His place of right standing before God. All of God’s wrath against sin fell on Him. He bore the punishment that we deserved. Now, because of what He has done for us, God will never again be angry with or rebuke us (Isaiah 54:9). Our sins have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)!

Those of us who are in Christ are new creations. The old has past, and the new has come
(2 Corinthians 5:17)! God views us based no longer on ourselves and our actions, but rather on Christ’s finished work at the cross. Our new identity is found in Christ, and as He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17)! Just as Christ is accepted before God, and dearly loved by Him, so are you! Instead of relying on your own actions to determine your standing before God, trust that you have become the righteousness of God in Christ
(2 Corinthians 5:21)!

This Christmas season, let’s give thanks to God for sending His Son to save us, and for Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. Let’s allow the story of the birth of our Savior to be a reminder to us of God’s wonderful plan of redemption. Let’s begin to recongnise that Christ’s work for us at the cross has made us completely righteous in God’s eyes.
Be confident in your Heavenly Father’s amazing love for and complete acceptance of you!

The Gift of Salvation

The Gift of SalvationWhat does it mean to be a Christian? How do you become one? What is having a relationship with God all about?

Isaiah 53:6 says that we, like sheep, have gone astray – that each of us has turned to his or her own way. Romans 3:23 declares that all have sinned. James 2:10 states that if a person keeps the entire law, yet stumbles in just one point, they are guilty of breaking it all. Being a Christian is not about being a good person. It’s about believing in Jesus, and accepting Him as your Savior. John 3:18 says that those who believe in Him are not condemned, but those who don’t believe are already condemned, because they have not believed in His name. Romans 3:22 reveals that it is through faith in Christ that we are made righteous. Romans 10:9 says that if we confess Him as Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.

We have all sinned (Romans 3:23), the wages of which is death. However, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ (Romans 6:23). We can’t save ourselves, so God sent His own Son to save us. Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for our wrongdoings, that we might be made right with God. God offers salvation as a free gift for us to receive. Becoming a Christian, therefore, is simply receiving the free gift of salvation that is offered to each one of us.

Have you received God’s gift to you of eternal life, and a relationship with Him? If not, I encourage you to do so today. He wants you to become His child. Accept God’s offer of salvation, and place your trust in Christ as your one and only Savior!

Grace and Truth Came Through Christ

Grace and Truth Came Through ChristThe law was given through Moses. Through Jesus Christ came grace and truth (John 1:17). What was the purpose of the law? It was given so that mankind would realize their need for a Savior. Through it, we become conscious of our sin (Romans 3:20).
We see it’s perfects standards, and recognize how far we fall short. We come to the understanding that we can’t save ourselves, and therefore must rely on Christ for our salvation. The law wasn’t given as a way for man to become right with God. Rather, it shows them their need for the One who has paid the price for them to be made righteous.

No one is justified in God’s sight by the works of the law (Romans 3:20). It is through faith in Jesus that we are made righteous (Romans 3:22). He became sin for us, that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of His finished work at the cross, a new covenant has been established, under which God remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12). It is by grace that we have been saved (Ephesians 2:5). God’s unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor is on each of our lives in Christ!

Jesus paid the price for all of the wrong things we have ever done, or ever could do. Our relationship with God, and all of His blessings, are offered as free gifts of His amazing grace. What a wonderful new covenant we are under, because of Christ’s finished work at the cross!

Our Savior Has Come

Our Savior Has ComeWhat comes to mind when you hear the word Christmas? Perhaps you imagine beautifully decorated trees, houses adorned with festive lights, or piles of neatly wrapped presents. Maybe you think of angels, shepherds, wise men, and a baby in a manger. At Christmastime, we celebrate Jesus’ birth. The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He was Emmanuel – God with us (Matthew 1:23). What is the significance of Jesus’ birth? Why did He come? What relevance does the Christmas story hold for our lives today?

In John 1:29, Jesus is called the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
John 3:17 states that God did not send His Son to condemn, but to save. Right from the start, it was foretold that He would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). The little baby whose birth we celebrate grew up to one day give His life for us, to redeem us. He rose again, victorious, our sins paid for in full! Through Him, we can become God’s children, and have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. When we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are celebrating the birth of our Savior!

Christmas, in essence, is all about Jesus coming to save us! He came not to be served, but to serve, giving His life as a ransom (Matthew 20:28). This Christmas season, let’s rejoice in the coming of our wonderful Savior, and all that He’s done for us. Let’s welcome Him into our hearts and lives!

The King Come to Save Us

The King Come to Save UsWise men come to see Baby Jesus – Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus was born, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem. They inquired as to the whereabouts of the one who had been born king of the Jews. They had seen His star, and come to worship Him. This disturbed King Herod. He called together the chief priests and teachers of the law, to find out where the Messiah was to be born. According to Scripture, Bethlehem was to be his birthplace. King Herod sent for the wise men secretly, finding out from them exactly when the star had appeared. He told them to go to Bethlehem, and make a careful search for the child, that he might worship Him as well. Afterwards, the wise men went on their way. When they saw the star, which had stopped over the place where Jesus was, they were overjoyed! They bowed down and worshiped Him, opened their treasures, and presented Him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They returned to their country by a different route, having been warned in a dream not to go back to King Herod.

The wise men went on a journey, traveling first to Jerusalem, and then on to Bethlehem, to worship the king that had been born. Jesus was Emmanuel – God with us (Matthew 1:23) – truly the King of all! Though God in His very nature (Philippians 2:6), He came down to this earth to save us. He was made in human likeness (Philippians 2:7), and humbled Himself, becoming obedient even to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place, giving Him the name above all names. At His name, every knee should bow, and every tongue acknowledge Him as Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). The Son of the Most High paid the price to redeem us! Let’s acknowledge Him as our Lord and Savior!

The Magi presented Him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh – gifts fit for a king! Of all of the gifts that are given at Christmastime, Jesus, God’s gift of love to us that first Christmas, remains the greatest gift of all! Our Heavenly Father gave us the very best He had to offer. If He did not spare own His Son, how will He not freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)? It is only in receiving from our Daddy in heaven that we can have anything to give out in return. Because our Savior died for us, we are now to live for Him
(2 Corinthians 5:15). We offer ourselves as living sacrifices, in view of God’s mercy
(Romans 12:2). When we recognize the His amazing grace, and abundant love for each of us, it makes us want to live in a way that brings honor to Him.

Our wonderful Savior took our sins upon Himself, that we might be made right with God. Let’s acknowledge Him as Lord in our hearts and our lives. Let’s receive our Heavenly Father’s gift of love to us, and live for the One who gave His life for us. Let’s give thanks to God for sending Jesus, the King come to save us!

Good News of Great Joy

Good News of Great JoyShepherds hear the good news of Jesus’ birth – Luke 2:8-20

An angel of the Lord appeared to some shepherds who were out in the fields, watching over their flocks at night. God’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified. The angel bid them not to be afraid, and brought them good news of great joy for all people – A Savior was born! He was wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger, which was to be a sign to the shepherds. A great company of the heavenly host appeared suddenly with the angel, and sang a song of glory to God, and peace to those on whom rests God’s favor. When the angel had left them, the shepherds hurried off and found baby Jesus. They spread the news of what they had been told, and praised and glorified God for all they had seen and heard, which was just as the angel had said.

The great company of the heavenly host that appeared with the angel sang a song of peace to those on whom rests the favor of God. Because we have been justified – or made right in God’s eyes – through faith, we now have peace with Him through Jesus
(Romans 5:1). His unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor rests on each of us in Christ. Because of what Christ has done, we can have the peace that comes with knowing that all of our sins are forgiven, and that we have been made righteous in God’s sight!

The birth of our Savior truly was good news of great joy for all people (Luke 2:10)!
Through Him, we have been reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18). In Him we have redemption – the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7). It is through His blood, which was shed for us, that we have been justified (Romans 5:9). What wonderful tidings was the news of Christ’s birth!

Just like the shepherds spread the news concerning what they had been told about Jesus, so are we to spread the good news of the gospel to those around us. Let’s never be ashamed of the gospel, which is the power of God for the saving of all who believe (Romans 1:16). We experience His saving power in our own lives, and then we get to share it with others! What an honor and a privilege to be able to tell the world of our wonderful Savior!

The shepherds glorified God, and praised Him for all they had seen and heard, which was just as the angel had said. In the same way, the good news of the gospel prompts within us a response of praise to the One who gave His Son for us. When we catch a glimpse of His abounding grace and amazing love, we can’t help but want to give thanks to Him!

Let’s take heed of the good news of great joy – which was brought to the shepherds so long ago – and all it means for us today. Let’s ask God to give us a fresh revelation of all that Christ accomplished for us at the cross. Let’s give thanks to our Heavenly Father for sending His Son, that we could be saved. This Christmas season, rejoice in the birth of your wonderful Savior, and all that He has done for you!

The Birth of Our Savior

The Birth of Our SaviorJesus is born – Luke 2:1-7

Luke chapter 2 gives an account of the birth of Jesus, the Son of God. A census was to be taken of the entire Roman world, for which everyone went to their own town to register. Because Joseph belonged to the family line of David, he and Mary traveled to the town of Bethlehem. While they were there, Jesus was born, fulfilling the prophecy regarding His birthplace, given in Micah 5:2 years before. Because there was no room for them in the inn, Jesus was wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger.

Jesus coming to this earth to give His life for us was God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Our Heavenly Father loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son
(John 3:16). He sent Jesus not to condemn the world, but rather to it save through Him (John 3:17). The little baby lying in the manger would one day die for us, taking our sins upon Himself, that we might be made right with God. Christ, though being God in His very nature, didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He took on the nature of a servant, and was made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6-7). The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus truly was Emmanuel – God with us.

Jesus came not to be served, but rather to serve, giving His life as our ransom
(Matthew 20:28). Christmas, simply put, is all about Christ coming to save us. It is a day for us to celebrate our Savior’s birth. When He came, grace and truth came with Him
(John 1:17). His work at the cross would usher in a new covenant, based not on what we have done, but on what He has done for us. Under this new covenant, God remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12). It is the new covenant of His grace.

Jesus’ birth truly was good news of great joy (Luke 2:10)! Through Him, we have been reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18). We now have a Father in heaven, who loves us dearly, and cares for us as His own. God does not desire for any to perish, but rather for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) – to change their way of thinking, and accept His free gift of a personal relationship with Him. Let’s celebrate the birth of our wonderful Savior – God’s gift of love to us – this Christmas season!

The Voice of God

ListenAn angel tells Joseph of Jesus’ birth – Matthew 1:18-25

In Matthew 1, we find the story of Joseph receiving the news of Jesus’ impending birth. Starting in verse 18, it says that Mary, his betrothed, was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit, before her and Joseph came together. Imagine the whirl of emotions Joseph must have experienced at the discovery of this highly unusual circumstance! Not wanting to publicly disgrace Mary, he contemplated a quiet divorce. At that moment, Joseph truly needed a word from the Lord!

After he had considered these things, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream, bidding him not to be afraid to take Mary home as his wife, and assuring him what was conceived within her was from the Holy Spirit. The angel further instructed him to name the baby Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Joseph woke up, and did as the angel had commanded – taking Mary home as his wife, and giving the child the name Jesus.

What can we learn from this story? First of all, just as God spoke to Joseph in his moment of need, so does God want to speak to us. When we call, He promises to answer (Jeremiah 33:3). In James 1:5 we are instructed, if we lack wisdom, to ask it of God, who gives liberally, and will not reproach us for our request. Our Heavenly Father wants to provide the wisdom we need in every situation we face. We simply must take the time to stop and listen for His voice.

Furthermore, through his dream, Joseph received from the Lord much-needed insight. Have you found yourself in a situation in which you didn’t know where to go or what to do, and needed a source of knowledge outside of yourself? In John 14:26, Jesus informs us that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things, and remind us of the words spoken by Himself. John 16:13 calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth, who will tell us things to come.
In situations when it feels like we are groping through the darkness of a lack of understanding, God will provide us with the wisdom and insight that we are in need of, enabling us to head in the right direction.

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel had commanded, in taking Mary home as his wife, and naming the baby Jesus. In the same manner, when God reveals something to us, it behooves us to follow His direction. He knows far more than we ever could, and He has our best interests at heart. He has good plans for us, that He wants us to walk out. When we yield to His guidance, we will find His wisdom to be vastly superior to our own, and His paths far better than the those we could forge for ourselves.

God can and will lead and guide us, if we will take the time to listen to Him. He will provide the insight we need to do what He’s called us to do. When we follow His direction, we will find it perfectly wise, and completely suited to our needs. Are you facing any perplexing circumstances or worrisome anxieties? Take them to God in prayer, and listen for His voice of guidance. Receive wisdom from your Heavenly Father today, and follow His leading in your life!

The Lord’s Promises

The Lord's PromisesAngel tells Mary of Jesus’ birth –
Luke 1:26-38

God sent an angel to a young woman by the name of Mary, informing her that she would give birth to a son, whom she was to name Jesus. Notice the angel’s first words to her – a greeting to her as highly favored. These same words are true of us today. When Jesus came, truth and grace – the unmerited favor of our Heavenly Father towards us – came with Him (John 1:17). We have been made right with God through Jesus’ sacrifice, and Psalm 5:12 speaks of God’s favor surrounding the righteous as with a shield. Psalm 39:5 declares that the favor of the Lord lasts a lifetime. We now have God’s favor upon our lives, not because of anything that we have done, but because of what Christ has done for us. Because of our Savior, we truly are highly favored by our God!

In verse 29 of Luke chapter 1, we find that Mary was greatly troubled at the angel’s words of salutation – the assurance of God’s favor and of His presence – wondering what kind of a greeting it was. The angel told her to fear not, declaring that she had found favor with God. Then he went on to deliver the message that she was to give birth to a son, whom she was to name Jesus. The angel further informed her that the child she bore would be called the Son of the Most High, and that His kingdom would never end.

Mary’s response to the angel’s words was to question how this could be, considering that she was a virgin. Have you ever felt God speaking something to your heart that seemed impossible to you at the time? Have you ever wondered how certain promises of His could ever come to pass in your life, considering sundry seemingly insurmountable obstacles? How was a woman, who was yet a virgin, to conceive and give birth to a child?

The angel’s reply to her question was that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and that she would be overshadowed by the Most High. After this, he spoke of how her relative, Elizabeth, who was said to be unable to conceive, was to have a child in her old age, and in fact was in the sixth month of her pregnancy. Then he wound it all up with the assurance that nothing was impossible with God – that no word from Him ever would fail (Luke 1:37).

In those times when we feel God speaking to us the impossible, it behooves us to recognize that it isn’t our might nor power that is to bring about the miraculous, but rather God’s ability working in us and through us. Our part is to simply cooperate with what He is wanting to accomplish. (To read a story of how God has proven Himself faithful to His word in my life, check out the L.A. Bound series of posts!) Just like the angel informed Mary of the fact that Elizabeth was to have a baby even in her old age, it is beneficial for us to remind ourselves of all that God has done for us and our loved ones in the past. After all, if He’s brought us this far, surely He can continue to lead us going forward. We must also remember that what’s impossible with man is completely possible with our powerful God (Luke 18:27), and that all of His promises will come to pass. When He speaks, He acts. When He promises, He fulfills (Numbers 23:19).

At the end of the day, our best response to what we feel that God wants to bring about in our lives is summed up by the words of Mary to the angel in Luke 1:38 (NASB) – “‘ . . . may it be done to me according to your word . . .'” God has many wonders He wants to perform through each of us, if we will listen and cooperate. Know that you are highly favored by your Heavenly Father, and that He desires many good things for your life. Place your trust in Him, and see His promises come to pass before your very eyes!

In what ways has God proven Himself faithful to His promises to you in the past, that can give you the confidence to place your trust in Him in the present? Comment below to share how you’ve experienced the Lord’s faithfulness!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”