Monday, December 24, 2018

What God Already Gave: Good News

This Christmas, some friends received good news about a health prognosis. Still others received the bad news that a loved one passed away. We all prefer the good over the bad.

This time of year, we are celebrating the moment when God gave the best news one night to a group of the lowliest people of their day.

An angel gave this announcement, and the shepherds ran to see for themselves.

A Savior had been born.

"Mom, what's a Savior?" a young boy asked a few weeks ago.

His mom explained, and now this six-year-old understands what it means that God gave good news one silent night.

"I give you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people," the angel announced. "Unto you is born this day. . . a Savior." (Luke 2:10,11)

God came to earth as a baby to grow up and bridge the gap between His sinful people and His holy character. He would take the burden of sin and erase that sin from time and eternity for those who trust in Him as Savior.

When the shepherds heard this good news, they ran to see Him.

When a six-year-old heard, he discovered that when good tidings of great joy was brought to all people, this meant him, too.

"Unto you is born this day . . . a Savior."

No matter what time of year it is, we will never hear better news than that.

"You shall call his name, Jesus, 
for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)

M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S !!!!

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Monday, December 10, 2018

What God Already Gave: His Son

What is the best Christmas present you've ever received?

When I was younger, it was anything Strawberry Shortcake. For a while, I was all about gift cards. This year, the Lord keeps reminding me of something He already gave.

"Unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given." (Isaiah 9:6)

Unto us.

These two words are repeated over and over in Handel's song, "For unto us a Child is Born." Two nights ago, I enjoyed listening to the St. Louis Symphony and choir perform his masterful piece, Messiah.  I had never noticed how much Handel emphasized those two little words in that song.

Unto us.

When God the Father sent His son, He sent a gift to us. Jesus wasn't placed in a manger because He was itching to know what it was like to be a baby. He didn't beg His Father to let Him come to earth to go fishing or to build things in a carpenter shop.

God gave His Son to us.

He was born. He was given. Isaiah said.

Unto us.

The best gifts are the ones that say, "I noticed you could use one of these." Or, "I've taken the time to get to know you, and I knew you would love this."

When God gave His Son, He was saying these very same things.

He knew we needed His Son to rescue us from ourselves and from our sin; to bridge the gap between a holy God and our unworthiness. God knew we needed a mediator, a man whose blood would be the only sacrifice sufficient to cover our sin and give us access to our God in heaven.

He knew we needed Jesus, so "Unto us a child is born."

God loved His Son. He loved the world. And He so loved the world, He gave His Son (John 3:16). He knew that once we believed on Him, we would love Him, too.

God knows us so well, He wanted to give us the best gift He could think of, so "Unto us a son is given."

While the world tells Santa what they want for Christmas, we can thank the Lord for what He already gave.

God gave His Son.

Unto us.

"There is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior." (Luke 2:11)

Next post (December 24): "What God Already Gave: Good News"

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Monday, November 26, 2018

What God Already Gave: Enough

Today, the internet is cluttered with the day after Thanksgiving buzz: "The Best Ways to Bounce Back after a Binge," and "Thirty Ways to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers." I'm writing this on Black Friday.

Like everybody else in America, yesterday I had enough.

Thanksgiving gives us a reason to take a day off, be with friends and family, eat lots of good food, try to remember to give thanks.

At the end of the day, I wonder how many of us said, "No thank you. I've had enough."

Today, my email box is also cluttered. Black Friday deals I shouldn't miss. Cheaper ways to get more.

Yesterday, I considered everything I have and ate plenty of food as a commemoration. Today, I'm told to go out and buy more.

Consider this prayer hidden at the end of Proverbs.

"Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me." (Proverbs 30:8)
What if we made this our Give-Us-This-Day-Our-Daily-Bread prayer?

Lord, make me grateful for what you already gave.

And continue to give only what I really need.


"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want." (Psalm 23:1)

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Next Post (December 10): What God Already Gave: His Son

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Monday, November 12, 2018

What God Already Gave: Answers

It's not just true today. For centuries, men and women have looked for answers.

Life often doesn't make sense. The world around us is filled with enigmas and uncertainties.

Only one Person knows the answers, so our prayers are filled with questions. We ask and wonder.

We ask God for something He already gave: Answers.

One Book holds those answers.

Sometimes we have to dig to discover them, like treasure that can only be found by a map and patience and adventure.

But if we dig, we will discover the answers God already gave.

Jesus was asked many questions while He was on earth. If you do the math, you discover He only answered a small percentage of those questions. Many of His answers were questions in return.

One response seemed to be a favorite of His:

"Did you never read in the Scriptures. . .?" (Matthew 21:42)
The people of His day knew and believed He could answer their questions. They wondered who He was and misunderstood why He came.

What they didn't realize--what He wanted to hammer home to them--was this: God already gave them the answers.

It's no different today. The canon of Scripture is closed. God doesn't speak audibly.

He already spoke, and He already gave us the answers.

What are you asking God today?

It might take some mining to hear the answer. It might require long hours alone with Him. A concordance, a journal, and a copy of the Scriptures.

In fact, most likely it will.

But if you're asking God for answers, He already gave them.

Let's not miss His answers in the conundrum of questioning and the danger of a dusty Bible.

"He answered and said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone,
 but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)

Next Post (November 26): "What God Already Gave: Enough"

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Related Posts:
What God Already Gave
What God Already Gave: Rest
What God Already Gave: Forgiveness

Monday, October 29, 2018

What God Already Gave: Forgiveness

Ever wonder why we can forget what we had for breakfast or what we wore yesterday, but offenses--someone else's or our own--seem to lodge in our memories like planks in our eyes?

When it comes to sin, one fundamental difference between God and His people is this:

We remember.

God forgets.

I like how Max Lucado put it.

"Just as it's against your nature to eat trees and against mine to grow wings, it's against God's nature to remember forgiven sins."

It's hard to think of God as the forgetting God. Forgetfulness seems more of a vice. Something to take pills for or the evidence of sleep deprivation.

God remembers His people. He will never forget His promises.

But when we confess and ask God to forgive sin, He forgets.

It's gone from His memory.

In fact, it's against His nature to remember.

This isn't an imagined, hoped-for, made-up characteristic of God. He said it Himself in Isaiah 43:25, "I even I, am He who blots our your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins."

We tend to ask for His forgiveness over and over, because our guilt and memory burden us down. We want to forget, and we tend to think God hasn't.

If we could only hear Him say to us in return, "I gave you forgiveness the first time you asked. I don't remember it anymore."

We often ask God for something He already gave: Forgiveness.

Forgiveness that forgets.

When the sins God already forgave haunt you, remember.

He forgot.

"I will forgive their iniquity, 
and their sins I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:34)

Next Post (November 12): "What God Already Gave: Answers"

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Related Posts:
What God Already Gave
What God Already Gave: Rest

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