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Archive for December, 2012

Love

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Scripture Reading – I John 4:10,16-19; Rom. 5:8

 

Emmanuel, Prince of Peace

Loves come down for you and me

Heaven’s gift, the holy spark

To let the way inside our hearts

 

Bethlehem, through your small door

Came the hope we’ve waited for

The world has changed forevermore

When Love was born

(Lyrics from When Love was Born by Mark Shultz)

 

The scripture passages for today tell us a couple of very important truths about God’s love. They tell us that God loved us even before we could begin to comprehend what it meant to love Him. They also tell us that God demonstrated his love for us by sending Christ to die for us that we might be saved. Christmas was a demonstration of God’s love for us!

I began to wonder, how do we demonstrate our love for God? How do we demonstrate our love for others? Does the world see the love of God on display in our lives? In Hebrews, we are challenged to consider how we might spur one another on toward love and good works (10:24). Through that love, may the world see the true message of Christmas. May they see the gift of love and grace that has been given to us in Jesus Christ!

 

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Joy

Third Sunday of Advent

Scripture Reading – Luke 2:10-11 

“I’m as light as a feather, I’m as giddy as a schoolboy,” Ebenezer Scrooge proclaimed. He was beside himself after a long night with  the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Why was he so giddy with joy? He was a new man, a redeemed man, who had discovered the true meaning of Christmas. Scrooge is a fictional character, but he portrays for us what contagious joy looks like when a person knows Christ as Savior.

Christmas is a season of joy. At the birth of Christ, the angels had the privilege of announcing the news of great joy that would be for all people. We have been singing about joy and rejoicing in the birth of our Savior since that time.

C. S. Lewis wrote “Joy is the business of heaven.” It is an integral part of the Christian’s life. What does joy mean to you? A recent blog post revealed one man’s testimony:

Many years ago, I used to think that joy was about “God making you happy” and spreading the “cheer” all around. But as it turns out, I had joy all wrong. I no longer think of joy as walking around with a cheesy smile on my face but more of a condition of the heart. I’ve learned that true joy exists independent of our circumstances.

That joy can only come through a relationship with Christ. Knowing and serving Christ brings an unspeakable joy to our lives. May you know the joy of the Lord this Christmas season!

 Joy to the World! The Lord is Come

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Peace

Second Sunday of Advent

Scripture Reading – Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 33:6;14-16

Israel lacked peace. They lacked peace with their enemies, they lacked peace with one another and they lacked peace with their God. Through the prophets, God reassured His chosen people that peace was coming. It was coming in the birth of a child from the lineage of David. It was coming in the birth of a King who would rule forever. It was coming for everyone who would be willing to accept God’s gift of Grace.

That peace is still available today. Unfortunately, so many in our world today lack real peace. Every day they struggle with stress, they struggle with family problems, they struggle with financial issues, and they struggle to find purpose.

The scriptures teach us that genuine and lasting peace can only come through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul reminds us in Romans 5:1, “having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Peace with God is the foundation for peace in our lives every day. In the midst of hectic days and ongoing struggles, God provides an abundant and overwhelming peace that is beyond explanation.

I pray you will know God’s peace this Christmas season. As you celebrate, may the peace of God rule in your hearts and may you know the abundance of His grace that He gives so freely.

May our voices rise with the angles as we worship our Savior: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill toward all men.” AMEN!

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