He Was Before – John 1:1-14

When creation was created, God spoke and it was done. God’s words even preceded the act of creation. Christ who created time preceded time, and He being before time is eternal and divine. Jesus is the avenue by which God choose to go forth in creation, and offer redemption to mankind. The life of God was stored in the human nature of Jesus, when the Word became flesh. True life is always found in the light. When we receive Christ, we begin to truly experience life and shine. While God can be known in part through nature/creation and history, God is known in full through His Son. Christ as the Word brings grace and truth. The Bible is the written Word of God, and Jesus Christ is the living, incarnate Word of God. The hardest part in understanding the infiniteness of Jesus is a result of our finite being. We have a definitive beginning and ending. Jesus has always been and will always be.

In seeking to understand how majestic Jesus is, how does the act of sending Jesus to save us show how much we are loved by God?

PRAYER – Pray today to gain a deeper understanding of the love of God for us in that He would willingly sacrifice His Son for our redemption. That Jesus was the plan before time began. Thank God for His saving work. Seek to share Him today!

Radical Obedience by Joseph The Adopted Father of The Messiah – Matthew 1:18-2:23

The story of Jesus birth and early life are shared in this passage of scripture.  Other than the birth of Jesus, we know very little about Joseph. The last time that Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, is ever mentioned is in Luke 2:41-52. We know very little about the years of Jesus prior to His public ministry. But in the selected passage of scripture, we can gain great insight into how Joseph was a man of God. Joseph could have had married stoned to death for considering her to have had an affair. When God spoke to him through the angel in both chapters, he probably did not completely understand what was going on and probably still had questions. However, one thing we can say about Joseph was he was radically and willingly obedient to God’s leading even without all the answers. When we follow God’s guidance, we can be sure that God will not fail us to bring us to the goal He has for us.  We may not understand everything God is asking, directing, or guiding us to do or go. But we can learn from Joseph’s example that whatever God has for us good or bad, He will not let us down. We can trust in Him.

What has God asked of you? How is God directing or guiding you to serve the Kingdom? Are you willingly and radically obedient? If not, what is holding you back from trusting God.

PRAYER – Take time to thank God for sending Jesus. Thank God for the example of Joseph given to us on how to be radically obedient to Him. Ask God to show you what is coming between you and Him that is preventing you from trusting Him. Seek to be open to God and be radically obedient to His guiding knowing you can trust Him.

Love’s Great Gift: Received or Rejected – John 3:16-21

Before the foundation of the world, Jesus divine purpose was clear. He was always the answer for man to have a relationship with God and be redeemed. Jesus was sent to become as a sin offering, and become our scapegoat. He was born for the sheer purpose of death. Yet He was not rebellious to God, and He never turned away from the Father’s plan. He rejoiced and willingly sought to do the Father’s will. Redemption that is found in Christ originates out of God’s great love for us. We are born into condemnation. Jesus came to set us free. There is no need for man to fear Christ, but the turning point with each who has known or heard the Gospel will be our attitude toward the light we have experienced.

With the knowledge and light you have received from Christ, who do you live for? How are you sharing the real meaning of Christmas?

PRAYER – Jesus, in this situation I have nothing to offer of my own ingenuity or strength; I need your wisdom and power as badly as I need the air that I breathe.  As I move forward may I do so in desperate dependence on You every second.  I joyfully and unreservedly confess that I am inadequate to answer Your call, in fact, I can do absolutely nothing without You.  I’m not able to handle this situation on my own and any good that results must come solely through You.  I simply ask You right now to flow through me, Lord Jesus, and cause me to stay out of Your way. Amen

Give Yourself To The Gospel – Romans 15:14-33

Support is a common way to spread the message of the gospel—the Book of Romans was written for this purpose. Paul wanted to go to Spain and needed some help. Paul was perhaps the most well-known missionary in the world, and like all missionaries, he needed support. These closing verses of Romans 15 give helpful insight into why he contacted this church, full of people whom he had never met, for support. Paul gave his entire life to Christ and wanted to encourage the church to join him. All around us there are places that may seem reached, but they are actually not. Across the U.S., people are coming from other nations for jobs and other opportunities. To these people, Christ has not been named. Our desire should be that of Paul, to name Jesus to them. Paul gave to the gospel until he could not give anymore. Are we?

When we talk about giving our lives in service to the gospel, does that make you excited, scared, or somewhere in between? How do we cultivate a desire to give our all for the sake of Jesus?

PRAYER – I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that You are in my and I in You. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me, to do what I can’t do, quit what I can’t quit, start what I can’t start, and–most of all–to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says– to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Living In The Urgency Of Christ Return – Acts 1:1-11

During the forty days after His resurrection and prior to His ascension, Jesus taught the disciples further about the kingdom of God and indicated that they would be part of His mission to continue the things He had begun “to do and teach.” During this time, Jesus commissioned his followers to share the gospel all over the world. Along the way, He provided important information concerning the work of the Spirit in empowering believers for this task. Jesus directly connected the power to accomplish the commission He was giving with the presence of the Holy Spirit. The equation is simple: without the Spirit, there is no power. The Spirit is the energy that enables believers to overcome their fears and to fulfill what their Master has asked them to do. The angels confirmed that the same Jesus who was taken from them would come back in the same way: visibly, bodily, and with the clouds of glory. In the meantime, the disciples were to be busy with His commission. Thus, the fact of the end times, including Christ’s return, was affirmed, even though the time was still unstated. This was a mandate for all, including believers today, to stop gazing and get to work being on mission with God.

What would change if we saw ourselves (first and foremost) as those sent by God on His mission? How does a sense of urgency for Jesus’ return affect the way we live day to day?

PRAYER – Pray asking God to bless our church with a unity born of genuine love that church members have for one another. Ask God to build up the faith of each person so that we may love God with all our being. Pray that we will live with an urgency for Jesus’ return.