Philippians 2:9-11 NIV, “9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The name of Jesus is the name that saves. It is the name that is above every name. There is hope and victory in His name. We can call on the name of Jesus anytime of day or night. These verses are such a comfort. They bring joy in the midst of pain and struggle. Even if you are persecuted, or ridiculed for your faith, remain steadfast and know that a day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Meditate on this truth and let it continue to spur you on toward love and good deeds, as you serve Jesus Christ and continue to share His light and hope with those around you.
Acts 4:11-12 NIV, 11 Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Luke 22:41-42 KJV, ”…Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may we always remember His words,
“…nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
These words should be the cry of our hearts too. To do the will of our Father in heaven, should be our life’s purpose. It should be our top priority every day. The story of Christmas, was part of God’s magnificent plan to redeem mankind and give us the free gift of salvation. Free to us, only because of the price Jesus already paid. Jesus died so that we could live, free from sin and shame. He died so that we could live with Him in eternity.
I pray that the reality of God’s love, and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ, would be your foundation today and always. May His presence anchor your soul in comfort and peace. May your heart be filled with joy as you reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. He was born and He lived so that He could die for our sins. The sweet baby in the manger endured unimaginable pain and agony, all because of His great love for us. He was obedient to the Father’s will because of love. May we love and live like Jesus, our Savior.
Matthew 6:20 NIV, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
Yesterday I was driving home from the store, and as I was driving, I started thinking about all I hadn’t yet done, and all I didn’t yet have. In those few moments, I managed to convince myself that I should be further along in life by now. I mentally started compiling a list of things I wish I had. Of course more money was at the top of my list. I reasoned that if I had more money, I could do more things, have more things, and be more successful. There is a pretty high standard in society today to achieve more. More money. More houses. More degrees. More status. More vacations. More of this! More of that! More, more, more! Then all of sudden, in the midst of it all, Iheard the Holy Spirit say, “Store up treasures in heaven.” Immediately the discouraging thoughts came to a halt and there was a sense of relief. I felt at peace.
I’m thankful that in my moments of self pity, God reminded me of my true purpose in Jesus Christ, and the reality that Earth is not my final home. As Christians, our greatest rewards and our greatest fulfillment await us in heaven. It’s a blessing when we are successful, but nothing we ever achieve in this world will be greater than the ecstasy of eternity with Jesus. The most important legacy we can ever leave behind, is one that points others to Him.
Sharing the saving grace of Jesus Christ with a dying world, through our words and actions will bring life. I pray that as Christians, we will never be blinded by the temporary pleasures of this world. Instead may we find joy in storing up treasures in heaven. When our hearts are in tune with the Spirit of God, we are able to stay focused on what matters most. I’m thankful for the assurance He gives us during times of doubt. He assures us that, the “more” we are looking for is found in Him…
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).
God does want us to be successful and enjoy life, but above all else we are to seek Him. He will guide our steps and put us in position to receive the right opportunities. Keep storing up treasures in heaven, and trust God to bring the “more” you truly need as you continue to serve Him.
I was watching a movie the other day, and in the movie the main character decided that she needed to find her “true self”. So along with that, she decided she no longer wanted to be married. After her divorce, she set out on a journey of traveling, exploring life and other cultures, and various forms of spirituality. One of her struggles was learning to forgive herself for ending her marriage. Since her husband loved her, and never wanted their marriage to end, forgiving herself was difficult. In some ways, I could identify with the lady in the movie. I too had to learn to forgive myself for divorce and other unfortunate things that have happened in the past.
At some point during the movie, the words “I choose Jesus”, came to my mind. As I watched the main character try to figure things out, and try to find peace by finally being able to forgive herself, I again realized how valuable it is to have the love and forgiveness of our Savior. By choosing Him, we choose healing, peace, restoration, and forgiveness. Any struggles we face, even forgiveness towards ourselves, we can turn over to Him. We can choose Jesus to handle our hurts, pains, and sins. Our freedom comes from Him, not our ability to find peace within ourselves based on our own actions. He is our peace.
I’m thankful we have the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to help us choose Jesus. When our trust in Him overrides our own understanding, we position ourselves to experience the victory that comes when we choose His will over our own. We choose Jesus when we accept Him into our hearts and lives. However, everyday we have to choose to live for Him by letting His Spirit guide our actions and decisions. When you choose Jesus, it changes your life.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT, “8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Saved by His grace! There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. It is a free gift that has been given to us by God through Jesus Christ. It can be difficult for our human minds to comprehend the idea of something so precious being free. However, our debt has been paid, and all we have to do to receive it, is confess and believe (Romans 10:9).
There have been many times in my life that I have struggled to forgive myself for my sins. I go back and forth with myself, wondering how I could have failed so miserably. But Jesus paid our debts in full. No amount of guilt, shame, or unforgiveness against ourselves will take away our sins. Only His blood can wash away our sins.
Just receive what Jesus has freely given. It’s feels good to know that long before we even existed, God had good things planned for us. He has always had us on His mind and in His heart. He desires for us to live an abundant life filled with His goodness and mercy.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ”
It seems that lately I’ve had many conversations with other Christians about the condition of the world and the church in particular. I believe most Christians would agree that staying true to your faith in Jesus takes effort. It doesn’t come naturally. We have to be willing to trust God and surrender our lives to Him. If you stop to think about it, it also takes effort to pursue the ways of the world. It’s just that the ways of the world are more popular, so it seems more enticing. However, destruction will eventually follow, because sin when full grown leads to death.
James 1:14-15 NIV, “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
But following Jesus leads to life…
John 14:6 NIV, ”Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Surrendering to Jesus starts with a decision, but then that decision has to be walked out day by day. Even when the road gets rough, we still have a choice to surrender our all to our Lord. The race we are running for Jesus Christ requires our devotion to Him. We have to learn to obey Him (even in the little things) and make Him a priority in our daily lives.
We also have to accept the fact that to follow Him, we will not always have the approval of people. Sadly even other Christians will at times try to hold us back from closely following Jesus, most likely so they can stay lukewarm or be comfortable in some type of unconfessed sin. There is always that constant tugging upon our hearts to leave our True Love behind and go our own way. But His way is greater. His way is truth. His way satisfies.
Psalm 145:16 NIV, ”You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”
Keep running your race for Jesus. Don’t allow the enemy or people to deter you. Stay focused on the One who will never leave you nor forsake you. The Holy Spirit will empower you. Let the reality of His love carry you through the ups and downs of life. Let His peace be your comfort when people try to harm you. Trust God to bring justice in any and every situation you face. He will fight for you.
We explained to her that we had met Jerry through the singles ministry at church. She seemed astonished and became very inquisitive about His church attendance. She didn’t waste anytime asking us if we knew rather or not her Uncle had become a Christian. So we begin to share with her how Jerry had accepted Jesus as his Savior, and had become a faithful member of the singles ministry. The look on her face was priceless. I remember hearing her inhale in surprise.
It was such a thrill for me and the other group leader to be able to share the good news about Jerry with her. Although we hadn’t known Jerry very long, being able to assure her that he had chosen to give his heart to Jesus brought us so much joy.
She briefly looked around the room. Then she showed us the small Bible that she had in her hand. She said she knew that many of the family members were unsaved, and that she had asked the Lord for a chance to share His Word with them. She opened the little Bible and showed us several of the scriptures that she had highlighted. We exchanged a few more words with her, before she moved on to speak to others in the crowd.
I glanced over at my friend Jerry and admired the gold cross that he was holding in his hand. Although his old physical body was lying there lifeless in the casket, I knew for certain that he was now in the presence of the Lord, with his new heavenly body. No more pain, no more hurt, and no more divorce.
I’m thankful the Lord allowed us to be standing in the right place at the right time so that we could meet Jerry’s niece. I was delighted to be a part of a moment that was so special to her…finding out about her Uncle’s new life in Jesus Christ. Jerry lost something valuable when his marriage dissolved, but he found something priceless, when he gained eternal life through Jesus.
Some people say there are many ways to God, but Jesus said this and I believe Him…
John 14:6 NIV, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
There is nothing that is too hard for God. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. He knew what Jerry needed. He’s knows what you and I need. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.