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Advent

Posted: Dec 16, 2017
Categories: Advent

BEGOTTEN (Day 14)

The word of Christmas we are looking at today is “begotten.” The Bible says that Jesus is God’s “only begotten son,” and it’s not just in John 3:16. That term, “only begotten Son,” is found in several New Testament verses and it always refers to Jesus Christ. When John wrote about the coming of Christ to earth, he wrote in John 1: And the Word (that’s Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14 NKJV). And later, John wrote in 1 John 4:9, In this, the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him (1 John 4:9).

The term “only begotten” means “the only one of its kind.” Some Bible translations use the phrase “one and only” son. So Jesus is the only son of God. There is no one else like him. What else does the Bible tell us about God’s only begotten Son? Colossians Chapter 1 says, Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together (Colossians 1:15-17 NLT).

 

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Posted: Dec 15, 2017
Categories: Advent

MERCY (Day 13)

The Christmas word for today is mercy.

We often think of God’s mercy more at Easter than at Christmas. While his mercy was deeply shown to us by Jesus’ death on the cross, it is also seen in the birth of Jesus. From the very beginning, God revealed that he was sending his mercy into the world through Jesus. You can hear it in two of the songs that were sung that first Christmas.

When we think of Christmas songs, we think of carols like “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World.” Long before these, those who were in the midst of the first Christmas sang songs to express their joy and worship. Mary sang about God’s mercy in her song, and Zechariah sang about it in his prophetic song. 

Mary’s song of worship is the most familiar of all of those the first Christmas. We call it “The Magnificat” based on the Latin for the word “magnify” that begins the song. Magnify the Lord with me. In Luke 1:50 she sings these words, He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him (Luke 1:50 NLT). 

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Posted: Dec 14, 2017
Categories: Advent

MIRACLE (Day 12)

Today’s Christmas word is MIRACLE. Christmas is filled with miracles: the virgin birth, the star that led the wise men, the angels who appeared to the shepherds, all of the prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus’ birth, and of course, the incarnation — when God took on flesh and became one of us. Miracle after miracle. If there is one thing Christmas shows us, it’s that God is the God of miracles. 

What is a miracle anyway? A miracle is when God steps into the impossible and makes it not just possible, but a reality. The Bible says, Nothing is impossible with God. That’s a Bible promise we all love to claim. But do you know the context of that promise? Do you remember who God gave that promise to? He gave it to Mary when he told her she was going to give birth to Jesus. God sent an angel to tell her a miracle was coming. Mary said, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Mary replied, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:34-38). 

God gave Mary a promise, and she believed him. Mary took God at his word, surrendered to his will, and by faith, stepped forward into a miracle. Faith is placed in a person, not an outcome. Faith is believing something is true because you believe someone is truthful. Faith is not rational, it’s relational. If faith were merely rational, then we would stop believing when things didn’t make sense. But that is when faith kicks in.

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Posted: Dec 13, 2017
Categories: Advent

SUDDENLY (Day 11)

One of my favorite words in the Christmas story is in this description of what happened to the shepherds. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified . . . (Luke 2:9 NLT).

The shepherd’s story of faith begins with the word for today: SUDDENLY. It’s amazing to think about how suddenly faith can change everything.

We see it in the Christmas story as well as the Easter story.

So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee (Luke 24:3-6 NLT).

Before Paul was an apostle, you might remember that he was a persecutor of the church. One day, everything changed for him — suddenly. His testimony is in Acts 22:6: About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me (NIV). 

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Posted: Dec 12, 2017
Categories: Advent

EXPECTING (Day 10)

The word of Christmas we are looking at today is EXPECTING. That’s what Advent is all about. The Bible says, [Joseph went to Bethlehem] to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born (Luke 5-6 NIV).

God gave Mary a promise. A seed was planted. Now she had to wait. How long was it until Mary experienced the first signs of new life stirring in her? When did morning sickness start? When did she feel the first kick? When did Jesus first turn over in her tummy? All of these things were signs along the way that Jesus was coming, but still, Mary had to wait. And when her time came, it only got tougher. 

Poor Mary. Nine months pregnant and traveling eighty miles on the back of a donkey to an unwelcoming town. This was probably not what she was expecting for the birth of the Son of God. A long, bumpy ride. A dirty stable. There was no Bethlehem General Hospital. Her mom wasn’t even there to help her. It was just Joseph — the most unlikely midwife in history. But the seed of a miracle often sprouts in the soil of adversity. 

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