Category Archives: advent
“We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.” John 6:69
One of my greatest fears is that we miss the holiness of advent in the midst of the secular…
That we fail to see Jesus for all He is…
That I personally do not make enough of Him.
In complete transparency, holiness is a frightening thing to me.
Immediately I am reminded of Isaiah 6:3, “ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
The prophet Isaiah’s description of heaven is formidable to say the least…amazing, terrifying, and beautiful. The ethereal picture of the whole temple filled with smoke and shaking evokes awe within me. When Isaiah saw God seated upon His throne, surrounded by worshipping angels, he fell to the ground filled with terror. His uncleanness before a Holy God shattered him.
There are moments, rare exquisite moments when, like Isaiah, I have brief glimpses of His holiness, and I am undone.
Just as God is holy, Jesus is holy as well. The holiness of Jesus completely sets Him apart from everything and everyone. Morally perfect, He cannot sin, and He will not tempt anyone else to sin. Jesus defeated sin. Is it any wonder He was hated by the self-righteous religious elite of His day? In His presence, they were hopelessly convicted. Even demons feared their very existence before Him.
For those of us who love Him, there is no need to fear. His sacrifice covered our sins at the point of salvation, and that sacrifice is a continual daily provision for cleansing so that we are able to stand holy and blameless before a Holy God.
Confession… a daily yielding of control over our lives to Him…
Each time we do this, we grow in His holy likeness…
Precious Jesus, You are the Holy One of God, but You are my Savior. You are all that You are and You are still approachable. I can only praise You… Like the angels standing around Your throne, I join them in singing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD God almighty, who was and is and is to come!” May my every word and action be an act of worship to You.
Most of us live in a self-made society which runs from pain, sadness, and discomfort. We live to satisfy ourselves and our desires. We place personal happiness and comfort at a dangerously high value which means we often run from issues that cause cracks our in fragile snow globe worlds.
Jesus as the Man of Sorrows shakes our joyful Christmas mindset, and yet, without this name,
Without what this beautiful One did on the cross…
Without the fact that Jesus left the splendor of His home in Heaven…
Without the agony of His last moments on Earth…
Christmas means nothing.
The joy of Christmas rests solely on the results of Easter, a cross and an empty tomb. Far too easily, we forget this.
In the garden of Gethsemane, we glimpse a raw Jesus in mental anguish over His betrayal. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38)
There was no plan B to satisfy God’s righteous wrath. Only Jesus…
Only Jesus could secure the salvation of mankind.
And He did. Jesus willingly accepted the path before Him…the greatest gift was based on the greatest injustice.
Knowing this and knowing Jesus had the power to stop it all with just one word…
His great love for us compelled Him. Willingly suffering, humbling Himself, allowing Himself-the Prince of Heaven-the Son of God–to be mocked, beaten and ridiculed by the very ones He came to save.
And He did it all for love…in obedience to the Father…for us.
“Man of Sorrows, what a name
For the Son of God who came.
Ruined sinners to reclaim…
Hallelujah! What a Savior!”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Christian author, Randy Alcorn writes the following about Jesus as Truth, “(He) is the source of all truth, the embodiment of truth, and therefore the reference point for evaluating all truth-claims.” When we are attacked by Satan’s lies, Jesus grounds us in the reality that is His Truth. He defines it, and He lives it. Jesus is God’s Truth. All He says is true and every aspect of His life demonstrated truth.
Satan, the father of all lies, specializes in twisting truth and casting a shadow on God’s character. The spewing of lies is his character, so we should expect no less from him.
When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we learn to see life through the lens of His reality. In the same way investigators learn to recognize counterfeit currency by studying real bills, the only way to recognize the evil one’s lies is to be intimately acquainted with Truth. Our hearts and minds need to be so filled with Truth that all of life is completely bathed in His presence.
Remember, God’s Word is the sword in our hands when we battle the enemy’s lies. Know His Word…
Dear Jesus, You are the Truth that sets us free. Help us to fill our lives with You and Your words so that we will recognize lies when we see them. Fill us to overflowing with Your Truth, and may the overflow spill into the lives of those around us saturating them with Your love, Your joy, Your hope, and the freedom only You can offer. Amen.
Messiah comes from the Hebrew word mashiach and means “anointed one” or “chosen one.” The Greek equivalent is the word Christos or, in English, Christ. The name “Jesus Christ” is the same as “Jesus the Messiah.” In biblical times, anointing someone with oil was a sign that God was consecrating or setting apart that person for a particular role. So…
An “anointed one” was someone with a special, God-ordained purpose. An anointed one was set apart.
As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we want the world to know He came NOT as “an” anointed one, but as THE Anointed One, set apart by God Himself.
During His earthly ministry, many Jews were disappointed by Jesus because He did not satisfy their idea of the mighty military leader who would liberate them from their Roman oppression. Jesus was meek and quiet in spirit. They wanted someone who would possess a commanding presence, one other world leaders would listen to and respect, but Jesus hung out with the sinners and the socially unacceptable. He broke Jewish customs.
He was considered a ragamuffin by their religious standards…
Jesus didn’t come to win a popularity contest.
All of history pinnacles on Jesus Messiah. Old Testament kings and priests point to Him, and Old Testament prophets spoke of Him. The wise men brought gifts for Him. John the Baptist prepared the hearts of people for Him. The Father anointed Him.
Jesus Christ. Yeshua Mashiach. He was and is God’ s answer to all of humanity’s need for a Savior. Many rejected Him then, and many reject Him today.
But make no mistake…He IS the Messiah, and we celebrate Him as the Anointed One for all people.
Jesus Messiah, far too often I try to fit You into my idea of who You should be. I fear I have minimized Your holiness, Your majesty, and Your power. I am learning that I cannot fully comprehend the magnitude of who You are. Thank you for coming for all people who would believe in You. You are our Great Hope. You are our Only Hope…Amen.
John 1:41 – “He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).”
Luke 9:20 – “Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”
December 12 –
I AM is a name both mysterious and powerful. Within the pages of the John’s Gospel, we find Jesus describing Himself using the emphatic expression “I AM” which in Greek is Ego Eimi. Each of these “I AM” statements by Jesus reveals a characteristic and purpose of Himself.
I AM the bread of life. (6:35)
I AM the light of the world. ( 8:12)
Before Abraham was born, I AM. (8:58)
I AM the gate for the sheep. (10:7)
I AM the good shepherd. (10:11)
I AM the resurrection and the life. (11:25)
I AM the way and the truth and the life. (14:6)
I AM the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. (15:1)
Lord, You are the great I AM! You are always present with us whether or not we recognize You. Whatever difficulties we face, whatever storms may rage, we ask for grace to see and hear You saying, “Take courage! I AM.” Amen.
December 10 –
Jesus as Teacher –
Unpacking the names of Jesus in Scripture is a grand adventure for a biblical studies nerd like me.
Names were significant during biblical times. A child would often be named in honor of an event that took place at the time of his or her birth, or for a unique physical characteristic. So when we sit with the name of Jesus, it means a great deal.
Each name is a description, and these descriptions give us a different aspect of the work that God wants to do in our lives.
Don’t miss this…
According to Ray Pritchard, “Of the 90 times Jesus was addressed directly in the gospels, 60 times he was called Teacher. This was the word the multitudes used. This was how the disciples referred to him. Jesus himself used the term when he said, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am” (John 13:13). When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, he said, “We know that you are a teacher who has come from God” (John 3:2).”
The crowds who followed Him from village to village were amazed at His teachings. His teaching convicted the masses. It angered the Pharisees. It drew the hurting, the sick, the spiritually hungry and the weary to Him.
Jesus was the master teacher…the Greatest teacher of all time. No teacher will ever carry the impact Jesus did.
Two thousand years later, over two billion people around the world profess to be followers of the greatest Teacher ever…Jesus.
His teachings and words are spoken in every language. Throughout history, no one’s words have ever pierced the hearts and the minds of people as His have.
Jesus Christ, Master Teacher? Oh glorious YES.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for your perfect Word. I thank you that we have the words of the Master Teacher, Jesus, to guide, pierce, and encourage us. May Scripture be our first counsel, and may we delight in it and meditate on it night and day. Amen.