Month: December 2018

  • Merry Christmas!

    And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘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 2:8-11

    The long-awaited day is here! In this verse we see that the shepherds are going about their life and duties, when the most amazing thing happened. An angel appeared with an important message, and they were the first to hear the good news! For 700 years since Isaiah first prophesied the coming of the Messiah, the people of God have been anxiously waiting for the Messiah to come. The Good News that they have been waiting on in faith for generations has finally arrived.

    Can you imagine what the shepherds were feeling at this moment? Afraid? Overwhelmed? Overjoyed? Relieved? Honored? They were considered societal nobodies, just ordinary people who worked outside and smelled like sheep. Despite this, they were chosen to become the first messengers of God’s good news.

    In the Christmas song “O Holy Night,” the second line says: “Long lay the world, in sin and error, pining. ’Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” This line is so amazing! It is in the moment that Jesus is born, when He appears in the world, that our soul recognizes it’s worth. How wonderful that God would become flesh for us–to exchange heaven for earth and endure hardship, pain, loss and all this broken world offers. But He came for us! God’s great love sent Jesus for our sake because we are His beloved.

    Father God, we are filled with such joy on this Christmas day knowing that you brought to us the best gift of all–Jesus! Thank you for your great love for us and for sending your Son to redeem us. We are filled with such joy over the good news of Christ!

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  • Awaiting the Savior

    “Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14

    “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” – Isaiah 9:6-7

    The book of Isaiah was written during the time of the Prophets, 700 years before Christ’s birth. For the Israelites awaiting a Messiah, these names (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace) gave them a glimpse of their Savior, long before He was born. They foretold of a time that was to come, a promise of a world made right. How difficult it must have been for the Israelites to have to experience such a long time of waiting expectantly for this promise to come true.

    Waiting is hard and when we’ve been waiting a really long time for something, we can begin to grow restless and feel like we have to make it happen. It is easy to grow weary and start doubting God’s faithfulness and provision.

    Let me let you in on a secret…God has a plan. He always has. His plan was set forth from the moment Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, He had a plan even before time itself existed. Jesus’ birth set in motion God’s plan to secure our future with Him.

    Even when things seem hopeless and waiting seems to never have an end, we must remember that God has a plan and He is busy working that plan in his time. Our times of waiting are an opportunity to lean into God more, build our faith and exercise our trust and dependence on Him. The best way to accomplish this in the midst of the waiting is to look toward hope. One of my favorite quotes on hope is by Melissa Kruger: “Future hope brings present joy.”

    The word “hope” has lost its meaning in our language today. A lot of times when we use the word “hope,” we use it like “I wish”. For example: “I hope it will rain.” But real hope is to trust in a person or outcome that you’ve been assured of. There is no one better to put our hope in than in God and in His goodness, for He is trustworthy. He keeps His promises. We can trust knowing that God has got us and He will work all things to bring good. He does have a glorious future awaiting us.

    So while we are not the Israelites awaiting the first Christmas, we are still awaiting the Savior to return and set all things right. We are waiting for Him to finish the work He began.

    When He left this earth, He promised He would return for us and finish what He has started. This promise is our future hope. We can rejoice today because of what God has done in the past in sending His son to earth and we can rejoice for what is yet to come.

    As we experience this time of advent, the season of anticipation of our Savior, allow your heart to be filled with his peace, knowing God is here, with us, in the waiting. He has not forgotten you or His promise. Because of this, we can overflow with joy for what God has awaiting us–the hope of his glorious future.

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  • The Prince of Peace

    If you spend any amount of time with me, you will hear me quote a song, or hum a tune within the first 5 minutes of our conversation. I love music and especially song lyrics. They are always running in the back of my mind like a soundtrack to life. In fact, I’m hoping that heaven has a flash mob section and that I’ll know all the words and dance moves.

    In all seriousness, music is something we share collectively, but each of us can experience it differently. For me, there is something breathtaking about hearing my soul’s cry articulated so perfectly in song, when I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Music and worship draws me closer to God. So many songs are rich with profound theology and impart the gospel story in such a way that it becomes woven into the very fabric of your heart.

    The song Prince of Peace by Hillsong is one of those songs for me. The part of the song that gives me chill bumps is this:

    “…Staring down the fight, My eyes found Yours
    Shining like the sun, Striding through my fear
    The Prince of Peace met me there. You heard my prayer.”

    As I hear the words I can imagine my Savior striding through the storm I’m facing, pushing aside my fears and doubts effortlessly as he illuminates every dark shadow with hope.

    It also reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses, Psalm 116:1-2.

    “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

    Not only does the Lord hear our prayer, in Philippians 4:6-7, He promises us peace unlike any other.

    “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 

    During this season of Emmanuel, “God with us”, I can’t think of a better source of comfort than to know that God hears our prayers and whispers back His peace. He breaks through the storm to meet us where we are, and surrounds us with his love. If you’d like, take a moment and listen to the song Prince of Peace, here and read the full lyrics here.

    I pray that whatever you’re facing today, that you will know and believe that God hears you, he’s holding you close and will be ever and always, your Prince of Peace.

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