Sunday, December 15, 2019

Makin’ a List and Checkin’ it Twice

God is Gracious

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

At Christmas, we all make a list of things we’d like to have. But our lists typically won’t include the hopes and desires we have to change things about ourselves, our circumstances, and our relationships. Maybe they should?

The Bible tells us such gifts like peace and joy and patience can be ours if we just ask and believe. That we can be freed from bad habits, guilt and resentment because God made good on His promise to send a Savior to all mankind. Yes, baby Jesus, the hope of the world, was found lying in a manger over 2000 years ago. And still today, God’s Son is with us. The question is have you found Him? This Christmas, let’s receive God’s precious gift and rejoice for God is with us!

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:21-23

Because God is gracious, through Jesus, God is with us always.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Co-Dependent

God is Goodness

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7

The world preaches that independence equals success and yet if we are being honest, over time we end up dependent on the very things that started off as freedoms. Things that once were a source of validation or happiness can take control and the joy that was once experienced is lost. Eventually our independence can lead to hopelessness as we try to fill an insatiable void.

God speaks of having a dependency on Him-- counterintuitive to our culture because as humans, dependence is a sign of weakness. Yet, it is because God created us solely to be in a relationship with Him, that any substitute does not last. Like little children that depend on their earthly Fathers, our Heavenly Father longs for us to see Him as the source of all goodness, all peace, and all joy.

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Psalm 62:7

Because God is goodness, with Jesus we can depend on God always.

Friday, November 1, 2019

First Things First

God is Holy

and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. Deuteronomy 26:10

In today’s hectic world, deciding what to do first can be difficult. We all know prioritizing is the key to success. But figuring out what to prioritize is the key to life.

The Bible tells us that all things including our very breathe come from God, but how we express our gratitude is often with the very little we have left over after a busy day or busy week. God does not want our seconds -- surely, the Creator of all things deserves better. Imagine if we tried to put God first for just one day, all day. Just maybe we would experience a peace and joy that would cause us to see things differently. Maybe we would be able to see God’s big plan and realize that a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus is the very foundation to experiencing life to the full.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deuteronomy 30:15-16

Because God is Holy, through Jesus, I will honor Him above all else.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Olive Branch

God is Love

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We all get into disagreements, but what happens when a grievance gets out of hand and forgiveness is required before the relationship can be restored? Who goes first? And will any gesture extended be accepted and reciprocated? Those are really tough questions – and part of the answer depends on how much the relationship is valued.

God created us to be in relationship with Him, but we often do not have the time or a desire to know God intimately. We think we can handle things on our own until something happens outside of our control. But, because of God’s unconditional love for us, He stands with arms open wide; ready to receive us at any time, in any way. By simply placing our trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, our relationship with our Heavenly Father is restored in an instant. And through that same gift of grace, we too can forgive one another.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20

Because God is love, through Jesus our broken relationships are restored.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Satisfaction Guaranteed

God is Eternal

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2

Are you still searching for that something that will finally bring you permanent happiness? You may find a temporary contentment or satisfaction based on your current circumstance; however it does not last -- it wasn’t designed to. There is no peace without Jesus. “Stop chasing the wind” as Solomon said, “for it is all meaningless”. Free yourself from the pursuit of approval, money, and power. True joy comes from the Holy Spirit. St. Augustine said, “The heart will not rest until it rests in Christ.” Ask Christ into your life and he will give you a perfect, everlasting peace.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5: 22-23

Because God is eternal, we can be complete.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Easy Button

God is Merciful

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

What a brilliant idea -- the “Easy Button” -- a way to solve life’s complicated situations with ease. But in reality, we know nothing is that simple. So where can we turn in light of our demanding schedules and never ending list of challenges and priorities?

God in His great wisdom and mercy sent a solution to take our burdens if we choose to believe and turn over control. His Son Jesus not only paid for our sins to secure our future for eternity, but today and everyday, it is through Jesus that we find strength, wisdom, and peace to bear trials and difficult circumstances. While God never promised that life would be easy, He did promise to be with us always.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Because God is merciful, in Christ, we can manage through life’s difficult situations.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Sales Pitch

God Is Faithful

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:1-2

Sometimes the promises made to us sound too good to be true! But when you have developed a strong relationship with the person making the promise, it is far easier to believe that they are telling the truth, no matter what is at stake.

God has made the most amazing promises to us, all found within the pages of His story, the Bible. And throughout the ages, God has proven He is dependable. As part of His grand plan, God sent His Son Jesus as a way for us to know Him more intimately, to trust so we could yield to His instructions more easily. Maybe your life isn’t working out the way you intended. Maybe it’s time to follow the One who knows the future and always has our best interests at heart; the One who is faithful until the very end.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:14, 27

Because God is faithful, through Christ we can believe all of His promises