Love Trumps Knowledge

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for January 31, 2021; Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1: 21-28

We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.  Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1b-3)

Knowledge puffs up while love builds up. In going over the readings for this coming Sunday, this passage literally jumped out at me. I love this verse! Why this verse hadn’t caught my attention before I’ll never know. But boy did it catch my attention now. It’s short. It’s concise.  They’re words to live by. Perhaps we could paste it on billboards and on church signs and on our door mantles. Perhaps before this devotion is over we could each commit this phrase to memory. Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

To put this passage in context, Paul is talking to the Corinthians, and people who are new or weak in their faith in Christ, about eating food sacrificed to idols. Although they may believe that “there is one God, the Father, from whom all things came and from whom we live; and there is but one lord, Jesus Christ. Through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corintians 8:6), they may not fully understand that “food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” (1 Corintians 8:8) In Christ, we know that God no longer has restrictions on food, and we know that idols are nothing. Therefore, we have the freedom to eat and to drink whatever we desire. There is no guilt in eating the meat of an animal sacrificed to an idol, since idols are nothing but a block of wood or piece of rock.

Furthermore, Paul then goes on to say, that even those of us who live in the assurance of this freedom, this knowledge, should show love and compassion to those who do not. For these individuals, because they may not fully know or understand this freedom, they may consider the sacrificed food as acknowledging the idol and thus burdening or confusing their conscience. Therefore, we are to have love and compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ and help build up their knowledge of and trust in Jesus by abstaining from eating the sacrificed food if it would confuse or burden others in anyway. On the contrary, he is also saying that we are to not throw our knowledge around and be arrogant by acting in a way which would bring condemnation, guilt, and an ill view of God’s love for the weaker soul.

In the same way, may we show love, patience, compassion, grace, and mercy to those who are new or struggling with an aspect of the truth and freedom that Christ brings. May we set aside the desire to puff up our own knowledge and impose judgement on a weak and burdened soul who is searching for the hope and love, forgiveness and renewal that only Jesus can give. No we don’t have to worry about eating the meat that was once sacrificed to Baal or Ashtoreth or any of the many other ancient gods, but we can still be mindful to love and walk with others wherever they are at in their faith journey. We can remember how Christ patiently walked with his disciples and all those he met, and now walks with us. In remembering Christ’s love for us, may we love others as they journey to know and trust fully in him as their Lord and Saviour. May we always remember knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

Prayer: Most merciful God, everybody is at a different point in their trust and knowledge of you. Please help me to be gracious and loving to those whom you desire me to help build up. Help me to love you by loving them and drawing them to you. Please forgive me for those times when I may lay judgement on someone or puff myself up, and thus further burdening them and keeping them from fully knowing Jesus and his salvation. In his name I pray. AMEN!

Believe Like Nineveh; Proclaim Like Jonah

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for January 24, 2021; Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 Psalm 62; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (32-35); Mark 1: 14-20

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” [This time] Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. Jonah 3:1-5, 10

I love the story of Jonah. The awesome thing about this story is that this very large, non-God fearing city, did believe that what Jonah was proclaiming was true; that the God of Heaven and Earth was not pleased with them and their evil actions, and would destroy them in forty days if they continued in their ways. And by doing so, they were saved from the impending doom.

They weren’t God’s ‘chosen’ ones. They didn’t have the Ten Commandments and all the other Laws that the Israelites were to live by. Couldn’t they just do their own thing? Why should they bother heeding Jonah’s words? They had the choice not to heed the warning, yet, they did. They knew deep down that there was a God above all gods. That he was sending them a warning that they needed to listen to because this God didn’t mess around. He was not a God of idol threats and empty promises. They believed his words to be true and that he would follow through if they did not repent and change their ways. However, they also knew that this God was a God of mercy. They believed God and repented, and in so doing, were spared their destruction.

In the same way, we are no different than the Ninevites, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Our sin has separated us from our God, and one day we will be faced with our earthly destruction. However, just like he did with the Ninevites, in his grace, God has given us a message to spare us. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2: 10-11) This baby born is our Messiah, our Redeemer. He is the one who was born to take away the sin of the world. In him our sins are forgiven and our life is renewed. We need not fear the end of our days. So, whether someone chooses to believe and to heed this or not, it remains a fact. Yes, just like our earthly death is a fact, so is the reality of Jesus. We just need to believe: “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.” (John 3:16) So be like the Ninevites and believe. Yes, answer the knocking on the door to your heart and the Holy Spirit will enter with his precious gift of Faith. Then be like Jonah and share the news with all you meet. Yes, be someone’s Jonah and share God’s gracious message of salvation so that they too may hear and believe and be saved.

Prayer: Dear God the Father and Creator, in your grace you have saved me from the destruction my sin deserves. You have proclaimed to the world your salvation in Jesus. There is no hidden secret. Please help me to share your saving news to those who do not yet know it, like Jonah did. And I pray that your Holy Spirit prepare their hearts to believe, as the Ninevites did. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

You Want Me To Do What?!?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for January 17, 2021; Second Sunday after the Epiphany

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20); Psalm 139:1-10; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel! Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10

Wow, to have the Lord speak to us as he did Samuel! To Samuel, God’s voice must have been so audible. So much so that three times it made Samuel get up from his bed and run to Eli, thinking it was Eli who was calling him. Oh to hear God’s voice so clearly in our lives!?!?

To be honest, I believe he does. Oh, maybe not with a voice so clear as what Samuel heard. But, I believe and am convinced that at different times and for different reasons, our gracious God does talk to the hearts of his children. In Samuel’s case, God shared with Samuel what was going to happen with Eli’s family. The news wasn’t for Samuel. Samuel was just the instrument through whom God revealed his news. In the same way, I have witnessed many times, how God, the Holy Spirit, speaks to his children’s hearts. How he lays on your heart a desire so strong that it takes you by surprise. In many cases, this desire to do some particular thing, although loving and/or harmless, seems very strange and off the wall, and if you were to just consider it a random thought, you’d most likely dismiss it and say something like, “Well, that was strange.” However, if you actually stopped and heeded the words of Eli to Samuel, “…if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,’” (1 Samuel 3:9) then you may be part of something life altering and faith strengthening. You may in fact see God work a miracle through you for either yourself or someone else.

Photo by OSPAN ALI on Unsplash

I have either experienced myself or heard faith stories of others where God called one of his children to do something, such as take some sugar to a random person, to pull into a total stranger’s driveway to comment on a window decoration, to request a business woman to be a babysitter for her children, to give a neighbour one of the meals that was made to be frozen, to call a distant acquaintance to have coffee, to drive down a different street than normal to get to your regular destination, to have dinner at McDonald’s, and the list can go on and on. On their own, we can brush each act off as if it was a pesky fly buzzing around your heart and mind. However, if you stopped and actually consider the random thought and desire on your heart to be a request from God to be his instrument for someone else in their time of need- an answer to their prayer- wouldn’t you pay more attention to its nagging.

For you see, in each of the above situations, the person to whom God was speaking was his instrument to bless the recipient of the act. It wasn’t just that someone needed a cup of sugar, or the window decoration was all that meaningful, or McDonald’s was the preferred restaurant choice. But in each case there was a person in anguish, in need, and God used his children to be his arms and voice to them when no one knew what was happening in their lives. In each case, each person left their comfort zone, they denied what the world would say and what their own mind was telling them, and they followed through with God’s call even though they didn’t understand why God would have them do such a thing. In fact, we do not need to fear such callings because we have the assurance that if God is calling, it will be okay, even if it seems like we’re doing something unthinkable or inconveniencing. Yes, if it is from God, it will be good. Let us not be afraid but, instead, think on Jesus. For Jesus endured the ultimate unthinkable and most inconveniencing act of all.

Therefore, when the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart and you willingly listen, no matter how crazy you think the request is, you are always allowing yourself to be in the front row seat of a miracle. So, as you start this day and this year, open your heart and your ears to hear and to heed God calling you to listen to him, and to follow him to be his arms and voice of love for someone else whom you may not even know yet. In the end, they will be blessed, your faith will be strengthened and you can be sure God will say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be like Samuel and to listen when you call me to love others, even when it seems out of the ordinary or is not part of my plans for the day. Please forgive me for the times when I didn’t listen to your calling. Christ has done the unthinkable for me and all people despite what the world thought. Give me the strength and courage to follow through when you call me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Are You Among The Wise Men?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for January 6, 2021; Epiphany

Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-11; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12

On coming to the house, [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. Matthew 2:11

Have you ever stopped to consider the Magi, the wise men, in the Christmas story? If you are like me, you may have just thought of them as a nice added touch to the Christmas story. From our traditions and the little plastic figure nativity scenes that we have displayed in our homes we usually see three wise men standing around baby Jesus in the manger. Although these inaccurate details enhance our Christmas morning scene, there is a much greater significance to the Magi.

The night of Jesus’ birth brought together a bunch of individuals, all of whom were most likely Israelites, besides the angels of course. There was Mary and Joseph, a bunch of local shepherds, and maybe even the inn keeper or a couple passersby. It would be safe to say they were all Israelites from the tribe of Judah. But then, thrown into the story, come these non-Israelite Magi. According to thesauruses, words associated with Magi are priests, kings, and wise men. They were men of society, men of wisdom, and they were men that lived nowhere near Bethlehem. We don’t even know how they each came to be together since they could have each came from different lands. So think about it. Why did they bother?

They bothered, because in their wisdom, they believed the prophecies of the Old Testament, especially through Isaiah. They knew that the one true God- the God of the Israelites- had foretold the coming of the Saviour of the world. So when they saw the magnificent star, they knew with their heart they needed to follow it. These non-Israelite, these gentile, individuals travelled by foot and camel days, months and even years to find that promised child. With that kind of dedication they knew that if the prophecy came true, then that child would be their Lord and Saviour too. Even in his early years, through the wise men, we see how Jesus was to draw all people to himself. Yes, through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3: 6, 12)

So as you put away your nativity scenes for another year, may you consider yourself in the place of one of those Magi, having the assurance that right from the start gentiles- you and me- have been drawn to Jesus our Saviour, and we too are the purpose for his birth, life, suffering, death, and resurrection. Right from day one Jesus has called you to him, to present yourself to him with the gift of your heart and your life. May each of your days be one where you seek him with a repentant heart and find him, whether in the manger or at the cross or in glory. He came for you, he sacrificed himself for you, he desires to walk with you, and he is waiting for you in eternity. In this assurance you too are as wise as any wise man!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, unlike the Magi, I have no gift to offer. Everything I have is a gift from you. So I offer myself. Forgive me my sins and cleanse me. Take my life and my abilities to be used for your glory and praises. In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

No Longer Lost

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for January 3, 2021; Second Sunday after Christmas

1 Kings 3:4-15; Psalm 119:97-104; Ephesians 1:3-14; Luke 2:40-52

When [Mary and Joseph] did not find [Jesus], they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2: 45-49

Have you ever had that feeling, that utterly sick feeling when you’ve lost something precious to you. Maybe an irreplaceable keepsake, a precious gift for someone, any amount of money, or worst of all, your child?  Oh what a terrible, turn-your-stomach-inside-out sickening feeling. Well, that is exactly what Mary and Joseph were experiencing when the thought they had lost their precious son, Jesus. How distraught they must have been! How fearful!

So many times in our life we may experience such feelings, but worst of all is if you are feeling like you are the one who is lost. Feeling like you’re running around aimlessly, finding no resolve for answers. Feeling like something is lost in your life and you ache to find it- to find answers, to find peace, to find purpose, to find hope. You may feel like Mary and Joseph did running through the streets searching, searching, searching.

Well the answers to your searching can be found here at the manger, here at the cross, here with Jesus. Seek him in his word, in his sacraments and in his house, and everything else will fall into place. No your health may not be restored or your insurmountable debt be null and void, or broken relationships be immediately reunited, but you will find your Saviour waiting and ready to hear and comfort you. In him you will find the love, peace, and joy that only your Saviour can give, and that this world cannot provide. You will feel His love which surpasses all human understanding, and you will experience a peace beyond the tangible, finite things of this life. Why Jesus, the Saviour of the World, came on the first Christmas, seeking to heal you and draw you to him now and forever. He is the lover of your soul. He took the punishment and pain that your sins and my sins deserve and he died doing it. Yet, as only God can, he was raised from the dead and brought life eternal to humankind, and all who believe. He did it only because of his love for you, and all people. So with absolute assurance, you can turn to Jesus, your Saviour, who is your guide in this world and into the next.

You see, Jesus was never lost when his parents were searching for him. He could always be found in His Father’s house. It was Mary and Joseph who lost sight of Jesus, the Son of God. They got caught up in their own enjoyment, their own festivities, and forgot to bring Jesus along with them. So stop your frantic search, and truly seek Jesus. Seek him in his Word, and seek him in his house and among those who are already lovingly walking with him. You can be sure that he will be there, and rejoicing that you are asking him to join you in your life’s journey now and for eternity. So wherever you are at in your life and whatever this New Year brings, seek him and you can be sure that he will be there. With him you can trust you will never be lost again.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, as I begin this New Year, please be with me. Help me not to get so caught up in my own desires and activities that I lose sight of your presence in my life. May your Holy Spirit help me make room in my life to seek you at home and to worship you with my fellow brothers and sisters-in-Christ. In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

Greatest Love Story Ever

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for December 27, 2020; First Sunday after Christmas

Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Psalm 111; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:22-40

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10

I love watching Hallmark movies. Especially at this time of year, they are the best because they combine both the delight of Christmas with the joy of falling in love. Although each story’s outline is pretty much the same: boy meets girl, girl meets boy usually in unusual circumstances. They begin falling in love. A miscommunication occurs. One of them plans to leave and go back home because he/she is in a small rural town due to the out-of-the-ordinary circumstance that brought him/her there. In the nick of time the error is discovered. The couple reunites, declare their love for one another, and seals their love with a kiss. There’s always a kiss.

Well, you are the main character of the greatest love story that has ever been written. It is a love story that brings the King of kings and the Lord of lords, into your meager, humble, soiled life. To you it may seem out-of-the-ordinary that such a Holy Majesty would happen upon you- simple, ordinary you, but it’s not. Although he arrives at your doorstep by strange circumstances – a star, a stable, shepherds, angels- his coming is not whimsical or by chance. He comes with you fully on his mind. He comes to you with the deepest of love that you will ever know. He comes to walk with you, to heal you, to take your burdens from you. He comes to die for you. In fact, there is no greater love than his. And he wants you.

“For God so loved [you] that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Yes, this baby that is born is coming to bring you to be his bride, he desperately desires you to give him your heart, to love and trust him, to know without a doubt that his living and dying and raising from the dead is all for you. All because he desires to bring you home with him to his Heavenly Realm with the Father and His Spirit.

In a world where miscommunications occur, where doubts are raised, and where love fades, you have One waiting for you with open arms to enfold you in his perfect love. There is no need to doubt his trustworthiness. There is no need to hide who you truly are for he knows you inside and out. Let go and let the Holy Spirit fill you with the truth that Jesus, the lover of your soul, was born, lived, suffered and died for you. This is your ultimate love story.

A Blessed Christmas to you!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank-you for loving me so much that you would leave your paradise to come to this sinful world to redeem me and call me your own, your bride. I love you! In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

Birthday Celebrations

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for December 20, 2020; Fourth Sunday in Advent –

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Psalm 89:1-5, (19-29); Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High . . . the Son of God.  For no word from God will ever fail.” Luke 1:31-32a, 35b, 37

As I write this devotion, I am anxiously anticipating the arrival of the newest member of our family. My daughter is pretty much ready to give birth to our grandson. Since I am on babysitting duty while my daughter and son-in-law are in the hospital, my phone is fully charged, on the loudest volume, and with me at all times. What an exciting time!

The birth of a child creates such joy and hope, love and unity within a family. In this little one, there is a world of dreams to be fulfilled and potential to developed, love to be given and lessons to be learned. What lies ahead for this little being is full of promise, and oh how parents and grandparents cherish the birth of each child and celebrate them each year of their lives. Their birthdays are celebrations of thanksgiving for the day God blessed the family with this precious human being, no matter how their life unfolds from one year to the next.

Photo by Tore F on Unsplash

In the same way, as we look forward to celebrating Christmas we can give thanks to God for the day he blessed us with the birth of his son, our brother and Saviour. Through Scripture, we can look back on his life – the joyous and the painful moments-  and rejoice with him for all that his life has meant to not only his family and those who knew him face to face, but to all of humankind through all generations past, present and yet to come. Yes, Christmas is the birthday of the Son of the Most High. It is the day to celebrate the arrival of our King Eternal, the birth of our Redeemer, the fulfilment of God’s Salvation. Oh what joy! Oh what hope! Oh what love is found in this baby Jesus! Come Lord Jesus! Happy Birthday!

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank-you for the birth of your Son, Jesus, who left Heaven to come down to Earth, to fulfill the plans you had for me, and become my Saviour. I will sing of [your] great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. (Psalm 89:1-2) In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Can Someone Tell Me Where The Light Is?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for December 13, 2020; Third Sunday in Advent –

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. John 1:6-8

In our master bedroom, the switch for our bedroom ceiling light is on my husband’s side of the bed. Since we’ve lived in the house, I have found myself becoming more and more dependent upon my cell phone’s flashlight to help me maneuver around the bedroom during the night while my husband sleeps. I’ve come to depend on the light from my phone’s flashlight.

Well, a few weeks ago, my husband and I got new cell phones. The first night with my new phone found me fumbling around our bedroom in the deepest of darkness. I couldn’t find the flashlight on my phone. No matter where I thought the flashlight should be, it wasn’t. With every step my frustration grew at the loss of this trusted convenience. It wasn’t until my husband asked his high school students the next day how to access the flashlight on our new phones that we learned of the whereabouts of this most appreciated feature. I was so thankful to his students for showing us the light.

I can’t help but think how this story is an analogy of the above passage. Jesus is the light of the world, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Saviour for all of humankind. It’s a fact. It’s as sure of a fact as the fact that my cell phone has a flashlight. And Jesus, our light to guide our way through this life and into eternity, shines bright for those who turn to him and seek him. However, there are many who don’t know of his light, who don’t know how to find his light, are burdened and blinded in the darkness of their own life. They need someone to tell them, to show them where he is, who he is and the path which is illuminated for those who choose to walk in his light. Having the light of the world in the midst of sin’s absolute darkness is life changing! It is safety! It is freedom! And there just may be people in your life tired of being in the dark and asking where the light is for them.

This Advent season, be as willing as those high school students, be like John and share the light of Christ with those who ask and with those who are floundering in the darkness. For into the darkness – yours, mine, and everyone’s- is exactly where Jesus desires to go. In fact, isn’t that what Christmas is; the time when the light of God came into the darkness of humankind? Oh yes it is! Thanks be to God that his light has come to us. For the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me guide people to you, the Light of the World, like John did. In your name I pray. AMEN!

May Your ‘Christmas’ Prepare The Way

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for December 6, 2020; Second Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85;  2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8

A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.. . .You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” . . . He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:3, 9, 11

Although Isaiah is prophesying about the coming of John the Baptizer who prepared the hearts of the people for the coming of the Messiah, perhaps right here and right now in these days, we can consider Isaiah to be speaking to us- you and me. Perhaps right now in these days of preparation, we, through our actions, attitudes, and words, could proclaim loud and strong the coming of the Saviour of the world. As sinners awaiting the coming of our Saviour, we can be the ones who bring good news by gently but loudly displaying the reason for our joy. Yes, our hope and motivation in these days are different than the world’s, and our actions will speak louder than words, as the old adage goes. Without a doubt, our words, attitudes, and actions should be like a megaphone to those who are lost and seeking.

Many in our world may be preparing for a ‘Happy Holiday’ and may even erect a holiday tree, and maybe they’re running around trying to purchase the perfect gifts and create the perfect holiday memories. This all sounds so exhausting. What expectation! What cost of time and money! What stress! If this is the case then why bother?

But you see, for the world who does not yet truly know the depth of love of the one true God, and as a result, has not yet received Jesus as the Saviour of the World, then this Christmas season is just some time off and a lot of extra effort to humanly create. It is exhausting and it is expensive. It is no surprise that many say they hate the season.

Photo by Emin B on Unsplash

However, as God’s children who are anxiously awaiting the Lord’s arrival and the day we can celebrate and remember his birth, our actions and purpose is motivated not by human desire and expectation, but by the love and desire that comes from the Holy Spirit. It’s a joy that springs from within us as we remember all that Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection means for us. It’s the anticipation of sharing in the joyous celebration with our loved ones and our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a time to sing from the church steeples his glory and praises.

Everything we say and do and feel throughout this advent season, leading up to Christmas day, should be strangely noticeable by all those around us who are rushing around preparing for a holiday of their own making. So stand tall in love and grace and truth, as you prepare your heart and your home for the coming of Jesus.  Yes, “lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid.” (Isaiah 40:9b) Jesus, your Saviour is coming!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, you are the true reason for this season! Help me not to get caught up in the worldly ways but to stay focussed on you. May all I think, do, and say display your love and grace, and be an opportunity to rejoice in you. In your name I pray. AMEN!

Got True Christmas Spirit?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for November 29, 2020; First Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7;  1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 11:1-10 or 13:34-37

Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:3

We are heading into the Season of Advent. Advent is a time of reflection. It’s a time to focus on the coming of our Lord and Saviour, and all that it means to us- you and me- and to all of humankind. It’s an opportunity to first ask yourself how your life has been affected because God himself was born as a helpless child? And secondly, how will your life be affected when Christ returns?

If we seriously stop and think about these two comings of Christ, we can be brought to the lowest of lows, as well as, the highest of highs. For at first, we are brought low in humility and repentance as we see the depth of our sin and our unworthiness to be loved so dearly by such an awesome God. And only at that depth of lowliness can we truly appreciate the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf and, at that point, rejoice with the truest thanksgiving and purest joy of the gift of freedom and salvation he has given us because he loves us so much. Because of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, there need be no fear for the second coming of Christ when he will bring, to his heavenly home, all who have acknowledged that their sin separated them from God Almighty, and believe that Jesus has reunited them by being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Yes, the season of Advent guides us to Jesus, where we experience joy and thanksgiving, peace and rejoicing beyond what we will ever know in this world alone. Such joy and rejoicing is the heart of the Christmas spirit. For only in Christ and the faith-filled knowledge of all that his coming accomplishes for us, can we place the worries and griefs of this life aside and acknowledge that we are his and he is ours, and that nothing in this world can ever change that. This freedom allows us to love others unconditionally. It is in the Advent Season that we see this Christmas Spirit shine so brightly.

Even in the secular world, the Christmas spirit has been acknowledged. However, it cannot be forced upon oneself. Only in Christ can you truly know the joy of self-sacrifice and love, and only by the power of his Spirit can we give unconditionally, with no strings attached. So if you are having a hard time feeling joy in these days leading up to Christmas, go to Jesus. Lay all your worries and concerns, sins and regrets before him and let him fill your heart with his peace. He is faithful and he will fill you with his grace and enrich you in every way. Then in the truth of Jesus, may you go forth with the true spirit of Christmas, shining his light and goodness to all.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, this Advent season, help me to focus on you and the true reason why you had to come in the first place: to save sinners like me. Dear Lord, forgive me. Dear Lord, Thank-you! In Your name I pray. AMEN!

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