Monthly Archives: December 2010

2 Chronicles 31; Revelation 17; Zechariah 13:2-9; John 16

Beginnings…Endings…Beginnings

Here we are…smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season. For those of us of the Christian faith, it’s the time of the birth of our savior. A time when the God of the universe came to this earth in human form to be “with” us and to ultimately save us. This time of year marks the moment that God bridged the vast distance between the glorious heavens and an earthly realm bent on opposing all that is holy. What’s amazing about this is that God did not “need” to do this…nor did He “have” to do this…instead He did it because He loved us. For us it was the beginning of our chance at eternity.

Part of today’s scripture takes us to yet another pivotal moment in the destiny of humanity. Christ brings us to the foretelling of His death. He marks the time and summarizes His life embraced with humanity. He reflects back on His time here on the earth and gives it as a clear example of the path we all find ourselves on. He adamantly proves out that we will have sorrow in this world…that we will find tribulation breaching the hulls of our lives. But (and probably the largest interpretation of the word “but”)…He provides us with hope beyond the sorrow and tribulation. That these things must pass in order for Glory to become realized. (John 16:22) And not only that, but the tribulation we now face and have yet to face HAS BEEN OVERCOME! (John 16:33) The life of the Son in this world is coming to an end…all because of the love of the Father.

And while these passages deal with Christ’s life coming to end here on this earth…it also opens up to yet another glorious beginning. For as God sent His Son for us to die…Christ now sends the Holy Spirit to indwell us with power and guidance. (John 16:13-14) Oh how we so undeservingly were given a Helper to be “within” us and not just “near” us. For all who have accepted Christ, this gift of the Holy Spirit is the lifeblood we all have beating through our veins and powering our hearts.

Lord, let me find newness in your Son’s birth…thanksgiving in your Son’s death…and wisdom in your Spirit’s guidance.

The implications of the name “Immanuel” are both comforting and unsettling. Comforting, because He has come to share the danger as well as the drudgery of our everyday lives. He desires to weep with us and to wipe away our tears. And what seems most bizarre, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, longs to share in and to be the source of the laughter and the joy we all too rarely know.
~ Michael Card ~

~ chefdave11

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2 Chronicles 30; Revelation 16; Zechariah 12-13:1; John 15

On Christmas Day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Immanuel. “God with us”.

So I focus on John 15 today. Almost the whole chapter is about being “with” Jesus. The key word that many of us know and love in this chapter is “abide”. Jesus came to this earth and walked among us, and he tells the disciples that they must always abide in Him.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5 NKJV)

This year has certainly had its share of ups and downs as our family has had some significant challenges. I can look back and see how Jesus’s words have truly played out in my life. While sometimes I think “you can do nothing” is very extreme, I do know that life simply goes better when I am abiding in Christ. Sometimes it means circumstances are better right away, sometimes not until later, but it always means that I am more at peace.

I look ahead and I am frightened, but not for long, as long as I take time to read Scripture, meditate, and “abide”. I heard an excerpt from a Billy Graham interview on the radio the other day and Billy said that if he had to do his life over again he would study more, travel less. He said “I’d spend more time in meditation and prayer and just telling the Lord how much I love Him and adore Him and looking forward the time we‘re going to spend together for eternity.” Can you imagine this coming from Billy Graham? At 92 Mr. Graham certainly understands deep in his heart the value of simply abiding. My goal for next year (actually starting today!) is to make sure I spend more time abiding. He is the vine, I am a branch, and my life and being come from Him.

Immanuel. God with us. Always. To the end of the age.

Merry Christmas to all!

suegraff

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2 Chron 29; Zech 11; John 14; Rev 15

It’s early morning on Christmas eve. My house is quiet. In a corner, the kids’ gifts, wrapped–tucked in a bag until later to go under our Christmas tree. On my desk, Bible open. Coffee, second cup. And a melody in my mind, O Holy Night–my favorite Christmas song this year.

Reading through 2 Chronicles, struck by the slaughter of animals. Blood splashed against the altar. A somber image. Burnt offerings and sin offerings made for all of Israel.

Zechariah and imagery of a Good Shepherd. A Messianic message.

And John 14. Slowly savoring words in red letters. Today, considering the eve of his birth, so long ago, these words yet to be spoken then–now in my hands to read over again. His voice arrests me with its authority,

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Verses 6-7.

His words. Red, like blood against an altar. His life a sacrifice. A sin offering. His death enough to cover the sin of the world.

Contemplating his birth.

Long lay the world, in sin and error pining. Till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Anticipating his return.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Courtney (66books365)

 

 

 

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2Chronicles 27,28; Revelation 14; Zechariah 10; John 13

The idols speak deceit,

diviners see visions that lie;

they tell dreams that are false,

they give comfort in vain.

Therefore the people  wander like sheep

oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

Amazing how the words of the Bible speak truth still today; “the idols speak deceit”.

What idols in life speak lies to you?

Here’s a few that come to mind…

Careers…security, confidence, pride

Money…false security, hope, temporary comfort

House…status, pride

Cars…status, pride

Sports/Activities/Bodies…pride, confidence, status, false self image

These things are all part of life, we all have jobs and careers but it’s when we place our careers and possessions above God  when the lies begin to take root.  We begin to believe our success is shelf made not from God, therefore we no longer give thanks for his provisions.  God wants good things for us, however he provides for all in different ways.  Not all provisions are tangible, not all are equal.  But we buy into the lies when we begin to think we deserve  a nicer car or home even though what we have is adequate and manageable, and although there is nothing wrong with having the finer things, those things can and usually consume and suck the joy right out of life.

We are all blinded by the false dreams that money can buy. The temporary comfort that it can provide.

Beauty and health have been distorted beyond recognition to where men and women no longer see beauty in God’s creation called man.

Everything listed above can be taken away in a blink, jobs are lost, homes and cars repossessed, savings dwindle to zero and health deteriorates from stress.

It’s no wonder we wander aimlessly like lost sheep. Oppression for lack of a shepherd?

But we have a divine shepherd that promises security, hope, comfort and love.  He sustains us, provides for us, loves us unconditionally even on our worst days.

Why are we still so stubborn and arrogant to think we can do anything on our own.  It’s exhausting and futile. Will we ever learn?

Thank you Lord for your patience and love.

Thank you for your divine provisions.

Thank you for your Son, our hope, our Savior.

cindi

 

 

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2 Chronicles 26, Revelation 13, Zechariah 9, John 12

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:

“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.

John 12:12-16

The Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. Revelation 13:8

 

For sixteen years every December my daughter and I read an old testament scripture that foretold of the Messiah and it’s fulfillment in the new testament in Jesus Christ.

Our Advent ritual continued until my baby went away to college. Her freshman year, I sent her a box of prophecy cards to look at each day with a picture of her childhood and a verse. Meanwhile I read the verses by myself at home.

Though our advent observance has faded into the past, those verses are now locked in my memory. Because of Jesus every day is about rebirth and redemption. In my heart it is always Christmas. His gifts and blessings pour forth continuously. In cardinals perched on evergreens during pristine white snowfalls or newly found friends that you feel like you’ve know all your life. The gifts just keep on coming.

I am thankful for forgivness, second chances, salvation, abundant life and eternal life to name only a few.

Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving day after day, year after year, generation after generation. Thanks be to God for His Son and our Lord and Savior, the Promised One, Jesus Christ.

yicareggie

 

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