Tag Archives: advent

A Son Is Given

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I saw a Christmas play a few years ago where they told the story of Jesus’ birth as seen through the eyes of two angels. They were reading Heaven’s newspaper when they saw the headline that Jesus was going to earth. They were ecstatic thinking of what all it could mean. As they read on, they were suddenly confused. “Wait! It says here that He’s going down there as a baby,” said one of the angels. The other replied, “How will He fit into something so small?” The God who is bigger than the universe He created, came down and entered our world as a baby.

He didn’t just come as a baby, but He came as a boy. When you think of it culturally and in that time period, a boy brought honor to his family. It meant that their lineage would continue. Since Joseph was a descendant of King David, it meant the royal line would continue and provide hope to Israel that at some point one of David’s heirs would rule the nation again. Everyone knew the promises God had made to establish David’s throne forever. They had been waiting for centuries for the House of David to return to the throne. The government of that country would once again be on the shoulders of the king.

Not only was that part of it important, but the fact that He was a boy has other implications. When a boy grows up, he gets married and his spouse takes his name. God came to earth to win our hearts. He came to propose marriage to each of us. In that time period and culture, a dowry was needed to secure a bride. It was usually something very expensive that would cost the groom everything he had. He had to work for years just to afford the dowry of engagement. After that was paid, He would have to provide a paid off home so that they could live together without worry. She would give up her family name and take his. She would leave her father and mother and cleave to him.

What does that have to do with Jesus? Everything. He came to pay a price that was equal to your worth. He came to win you over with His love. His life was all about proving how much He loved you and me. He did miracles, signs and wonders in an effort to get our attention. He bled and died in order to pay the dowry for you to be engaged to Him. He gave up everything He had to come in the form of a child, lived His life trying to get our attention and paid that price just to ask if you would marry Him. When you accept His proposal, all of Heaven rejoices just as we would for one of our friends. You then take on His name, Christian, and leave the life you once lived.

John 14:2-3 says, “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (NLT). He is following the culture and customs of that time in His proposal of marriage to you. Revelations says that we will be going to the wedding feast in Heaven one day. You and I are the bride of Christ if we accept His proposal. He’s coming back for us once He’s finished preparing it. I can’t wait to see it. If He made this world in 6 days, can imagine how incredible Heaven will be after 2,000 years? I can’t wait for the wedding, how about you?

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The Birth Of Grace

I’ve got a friend who, when he sees people with a sour face, likes to say, “Smile! God’s in a good mood.” It usually takes them a second to hear what he said, then they laugh or smile. Many of us think of God as this angry, Old Testament figure who is sitting up in Heaven speaking in old English and is looking for someone to smite. As a result, we try to live a smite free life that makes us miserable.

If God is always angry, why did He give us the gift of His Son? I can tell you that when I’m upset or angry with someone, giving them a life changing gift is not an idea floating around in my head. In the Old Testament, we had a pact with God where we would do our part to keep the relationship open through sacrifice, but we constantly fell short. That did make God angry and upset. How do you feel when someone breaks a promise to you? No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t do it.

Out of love, God decided to establish a New Covenant between us. One where when we fall short on our end, Jesus makes up the difference. His birth was also the birth of grace. It announced that God would make a way to reestablish the relationship between He and us. His desire has always been that we would know Him, and go to live with Him for eternity. To take the burden off of us trying to keep our part, He sent Jesus.

John 3:16-17 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” (NLT). Smile! That’s good news. This Christmas, celebrate the birth of grace into our world. Live your life in response to God’s love for you rather than out of the fear of being smitten.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

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The Light Of Life

John 1 starts out by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (KJV). It’s always been curious to me that John described Jesus as “The Word”. When you go back to the Genesis account of creation, the very first words attributed to God are, “Let there be light.” I believe John called Jesus “The Word” in this context, because Jesus is light, and the light God created that day is still shining.

After God spoke light into existence, He sent His light into our world with the birth of His Son. Jesus is not just The Word Of God, He’s the Light of the World. You and I don’t have to walk in darkness, nor is there any darkness that can overpower the light He has put inside of you. We were meant to live in the light with The Light. Chase away whatever darkness is coming against you with the name of Jesus who is The Word Of God full of light.

Here are some Bible verses about Jesus being the Light.

1. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them… A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:2, 6 GNT

2. The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.

John 1:4-5 GNT

3. Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the LORD ]; for your light has come, And the glory and brilliance of the LORD has risen upon you.

ISAIAH 60:1 AMP

4. Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “ I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

JOHN 8:12 AMP

5. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband… And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.

Revelation 21:2, 23 NLT

Photo by Kristine Weilert on Unsplash

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Anticipating The Savior

Do you remember how excited you were for Christmas when you were a kid? Did you shake the presents under the tree trying to guess what they were? Maybe you had an Advent calendar that counted down the days to Christmas. There was something special about this time of year when I was a child. There still is, but so many of us have lost it and are looking for it again.

I think I’ve figured out where it went. When you were a kid, you didn’t have to go into the attic to get the tree and the decorations out. You weren’t the one who had to put them all up. You didn’t have to fight for parking at the mall or stand in long lines to buy one gift. You didn’t have to stress about a budget or the food that you were going to have to prepare. In having to deal with all of this, many of us quit anticipating Christmas and started dreading it.

When Jesus was eight days old, he was taken to the temple to be dedicated to God. Luke 2:25 says, “At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel” (NLT). I can I shine Simeon each day, waiting in the temple, with the same anticipation that a child has for Christmas. He fulfilled his responsibilities daily, but he was still actively looking for and anticipating the Messiah.

If you find yourself looking for the magic of Christmas this year, go back to what it’s all about – anticipating the savior of the world. Even as we celebrate the first arrival of our savior, we need to be anticipating His return. Many of us spend a lifetime thinking, discussing and debating His first visit without anticipating His second coming. Just like Simeon, we need to keep an eye out for Jesus. We still have work to do, but there’s joy in the anticipation of a savior coming soon if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do.

Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash

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