Monday, December 20, 2010

Know Jesus, Know Peace

It seems ironic that in the season where we celebrate the first advent of the Prince of Peace we may get very little of it. "Holiday" parties at school and work, shopping to be done, cooking and baking, guests and travel, all of these things can be a recipe for stress, even when we are enjoying them. It is precisely during these moments that we must be most clearly focused on the Lord whose incarnation we celebrate during this time. The word has many alternatives to offer, but only the Lord offers true peace. Peace with God through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ (While we were still enemies, he died for us. ~Romans 5:3, 8), Peace with eachother through the grace and patence of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:32), and peace and freedom from our own accusing flesh, that is, our decietful sin nature (Romns 6:11; Galatians 2:20).
The One we celebrate this time of year is the one who said, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." John 14:27. Will you choose to rest in the comfort of His Peace this holiday season? Will you look to Him who loved you and gave Himself up for you and there find the courageous full and brimming life that was won for you at the Cross and there after? Will this be the year where you commemorate our Saviors birth by trusting in Him in a whole new way? I hope for all of us, that it is.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Joy to the World

"Joy" is a word we hear quite frequently in the holiday season. It is a word that is often written in large glittery letters across shiny Christmas cards and in lights over windows. It becomes so familiar that we often fail to think about the importance of this word. What is joy? How did it come to the world in the person of Jesus Christ? If "joy" is simply a synonym for "happiness" then we find that there was plenty of joy in the world already, however Biblical joy is much more than just happiness.

Like all of the fruit of the Spirit joy is something that is the product of the believer in Christ in spite of any circumstance. Joy is a deeper gladness of heart that cannot be affected by any outward circumstances. The growth of joy in the life of the believer is the mark of maturity that enables the Christian to step into every day with love and good cheer, knowing that the Lord will complete His good work in each of us. And while we can sustain many painful losses in this life, not one force on earth can touch our eternal position in the Heavenlies in Christ. Here is the striking reality: The only way that this world could ever see true joy isn't on a card, or written in lights. It is the burning flame that emanates from the heart and life of every person who is living in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, each and every day. The Christmas card that really matters is you! are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:3

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Way

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
John 14:6

Last week's devotion was about longing. Not for a thing, or for a possession, but for a Person. Longing for the Messiah. Longing for Jesus. In looking at this week's verse we see why. This monumental statement shows more than we may think. Very often this verse is referenced in the context of salvation. Truly, there is no other name by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12), there is no access to the Father, except through the person of Jesus Christ. He bought that privilege for all who receive it by faith in the Him, by His sacrifice on the cross. This verse perfectly identifies our need for Jesus in order to be saved. However, there is more to this verse.

The earliest title given to followers of Christ was "those of the Way."* This way was Jesus Christ. This is one of Jesus' amazing "I am" statements wherein He claims deity with his very grammar and word choice. However, this does lead us to a question: How can a person be a way? It is amazing that Jesus takes many titles for Himself which we may not expect. He tells us that He is the Door in John 10:9. Jesus is the Door by which we enter into a relationship with God. Jesus is the path we walk (the way). We walk this path because He has given us His history, because He empowers and guides us through His Holy Spirit, He leads us by His word, He has given us the fellowship of His body (the Church), and has placed us in an eternal relationship with God the Father. Jesus is the The Way.

In John 14:3 we find that, not only is Jesus the Door and the Way, He is also preparing a place for us. Jesus is the Door. Jesus is the Way. Jesus is the destination. He redeemed you for a love relationship that will last for all of eternity.

*(FYI - In modern times this title has been hijacked by a cult)