November 2013 Dear Friends, I am sitting at a desk on the ninth floor of a motel in Virginia Beach on vacation. As I look down at the ocean and boardwalk below, the people seem little and distant. However, as I meditate on our wonderful Heavenly Father, thinking of Him looking down on His creation [...]
As we all approach another Christmas season, my wife’s and my wish and prayer for each of you are that the love, joy, and peace that comes from above will fill your lives with the excitement that the angels felt in Luke 2:13, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying.” They burst into inspired song (I love the singing of Christmas carols at this time of year).
Consider with me for a few minutes their song. “Glory to God in the highest….” How about each of us glorifying God this Christmas. How can we do that? The Bible tells us in Ps. 22:23, by praise; in Matt. 5:16, by good works; in John 15:8, by fruit-bearing. In all the activity and activities this season of the year, STOP—and remember that it was originally all supposed to be about Jesus Christ coming to earth. In Matt. 1:23, we are told His name shall be called “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” A couple of verses before, in Matthew 1:21, “…thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Shouldn’t we glorify and praise our Heavenly Father and our wonderful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ for the “so great salvation” (see Heb. 2:3) that has been provided for us when the baby from Bethlehem went to the cross to die for our sin debt that we could not pay?
This year, as you give and receive gifts, remember the ultimate gift that has been given to all who have personally accepted Jesus’ finished work on Calvary. Jesus Christ has presented us with the gift of salvation (see John 3:16; Rom. 6:23; 8:32; 2 Cor. 9:15; Eph. 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God).” Considering all this, should we not glorify our wonderful Savior—not just at Christmas, but always?
The second part of the angels’ song is “…on earth, peace, good will toward men.” This peace is only promised to believers (do you experience it?). It is the gift of God in Ps. 29:11; it is abundant peace in Ps. 119:165 (over the years I have had some personal issues with “nothing shall offend them”—but let me ask you, does anything ever offend you?). Let me return to peace: it is perfect, in Isa. 26:3; like a river, in Isa. 48:18, and–-praise the Lord—it is the legacy of Christ, in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” and John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
What a beautiful little verse is Luke 2:14. May it encourage your heart and soul this Christmas season. Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the month, take time to think on the baby Jesus Who grew to the Man Who was crucified (Isa. 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”) so that we can spend eternity with Him in Heaven, praising God (see Rev. 19:5; Ps. 35:28; Ps. 71:14; Ps. 104:33; Ps. 145:1) for His wonderful gift of Jesus.
May the true joy of Christmas fill your hearts—not just this month, but every day.
Praising God for the best gift this Christmas—personal salvation in Jesus Christ.
His servants and yours,