12/23/2019 Reflections at Christmas 16

John 3:21, “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Truth. When we realize the truth, we step into the reality of the Father’s love and with great joy step into the light, fully confident in Him. His light brings to life color and beauty, awakening us to His purposes. For those who willingly come, fear of exposure finds no purchase, for everything is done and accomplished in and through Christ – the Light of Life, the Light of Love, the Light of God. He is our Sun of Righteousness who has arisen with healing for all of mankind.

The beauty of Him does not disappoint. In Him, we have been made complete. In Him, we step into the power of the Triune God. As we remain in Him, He does exceedingly, abundantly above our requests and desires, what we can perceive or understand, according to said power already at work in us. We are not abandoned or forsaken. We are not left to our devices. We live in triumphant joy, snubbing the mockery of the enemy because we are secure in the warmth of the Son of the Living God.

This is why He came. He is the Word that defines and shapes us, the Light that illuminates our lives and our world, the Way that leads us back to our Father, the Life in whom we, too, can have life. Today, there is a Savior, no longer wrapped and swaddled, who sits as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is Jesus Christ, the Lord!

12/20/2019 Reflections at Christmas 15

John 3:19-20, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness, rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

The Light had come, and rather than embrace Him, we steadfastly shunned Him. We preferred our ignorance of God and our origins and purpose because it allowed us to create gods of our own that justified our sin, immorality, and ungodliness. Indeed, these gods would applaud it, and our descent into sin accelerated and expanded, and began to overtake every function of our existence in our thoughts, words, and actions. Our deeds became evil.

It didn’t happen all at once, we had to practice it. We called ourselves good and did evil. We did what was right in our own eyes, and when the Light came to usher us out of our darkness, not all would accompany Him for fear of exposure before Him. We knew we were not righteous – not one of us.

And that is the point. Darkness would have us dread stepping into the Light of Love which frees so that we choose bondage over it. It would have us feel that we are the ones doing the sacrificing by giving up sin, instead of realizing God sacrificed for us that we may step into all that is good, beautiful, pure, and holy. Darkness would have us lose ourselves, oblivious to the shrinking of our spirits, while Christ came that we might finally have life abundantly.

The Lord of Light came, set before us life and death, and asked us to choose.

12/19/2019 Reflections at Christmas 14

John 3:17-18, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but He who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

He wasn’t seeking a greater schism or to penalize us. He wasn’t out to “get” man. The cross wasn’t a judgment against us, but against the enemy who wanted to keep us in darkness. In the cross, Christ assumed our debt and paid it all, providing a way to be reconciled to the Father.  The Light had come for one reason – to pay the price that we might be saved, and it is we alone who decide if we will be or not.

Will we continue to die in the dark or live in the light? Those are our choices. We are called to be His children; to walk as children of light. We condemn ourselves when we deny His Name. In Him alone we live and move and have our being. Without Him, there is no life or light or being. In the dark we lose our identity; only in the light do we find it. Salvation is near; it is here. What will you do with it?

12/18/2019 Reflections at Christmas 13

 John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

He is not indifferent or unmoved by us. To the contrary, He is touched by all that concerns us, and it was His love and compassion for us that motivated His gift. When we couldn’t get any farther away, when we were at the bottom, grasping for a rope that was unraveling with every disappointment, heartache, and iniquity, He sent His Lifeline: Christ who holds all together with His word.

We were all in the same pit, none of us able to get ourselves out. And in His grace, He provided the Way of Escape for everyone. He doesn’t offer it to a few, but all. The Lifeline is there. We have to reach out in belief and receive Him. For those who receive, He pulls us out of the miry clay and sets our feet on the Solid Rock, the everlasting foundation.

There is no ladder by which we can climb out, no mental focus or physical aptitude that can rescue us. Only one Lifeline exists, and it’s drenched in blood. No, God is not indifferent. He is altogether loving and desires that you live!

12/17/2019 Reflections at Christmas 12

John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”

Before Christ’s incarnation, we could not perceive or understand God. We were caught up in mythologies of our own making. Rather than understanding and worshipping the Creator in whose image we are made, we pledged allegiance to idols we created in our likeness. We manufactured our own light and forged our own way, which we promptly lost.

Only One – the Eternal Word, the Light, the Way – could convey the heart of God. Only the One that was with Him in the beginning and in perfect unison with Him could reveal Him to us.  Patiently Christ unfolded for us the character of God and invited us back to relationship with our Father. Where we had been blind before, we could see! And in the person of Jesus Christ, fully God, fully human, we were able to realize God’s love.

It is a love that isn’t possessed but personified. It is a love that holds nothing back but gives everything to reach His wayward children. It is sacrificial and long-suffering. And we – you and I – are the objects of Love’s focus. He is always pursuing, always faithful. And for those who have stopped running and been enfolded into His arms, He is Father perfected. For those who still run, He is perfectly patient and waiting, still calling you home.

12/15/2019 Reflections at Christmas 11

John 1:16-17, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

Christ has withheld nothing. Freely He has given of all of Himself to all of us. He has not hidden His Light, blocked the Way, or withdrawn His Word. Rather He revealed Himself and the Father, and our brokenness is healed in His wholeness. In accepting His gift and this revelation, we are able to not only see His grace but become partakers of it and His nature.

He is the fulfillment of all He previously spoke to and through Moses, and in its completion enables us to reconcile with the Father and overcome the sin that so easily besets us. In Him, we see the types and shadows of the old, lived out in the new. It is the story of love lost and found at a staggering cost.

His redemptive, amazing grace! It is a sweet sound, not clamoring or ringing, but gentle. It whispers His blessed assurance, allowing us to peacefully rest in our Father’s arms, free of sin’s dictates, enabled with power, gloriously loved!

12/13/2019 Reflections at Christmas 10

John 1:13-14, “And the Word 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 bore witness of Him crying out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”

God – the Light, the Way, the Word – stepped down from heaven’s throne, clothing Himself with mortality, to eat and drink, laugh and cry, and live among us. He walked among His defiled creation and, in His infinite love, gave of Himself, allowing us the privilege of beholding His glory in all of its brilliant perfection and purity. Indeed, it remains the same today. He lacks nothing, continuing to show us the Father, and His glory is reality manifested with merciful kindness towards us.

His glory is “full of grace and truth.” Not one without the other, but perfectly balanced. Truth without grace leaves us hopeless; truth with grace redeems. And we, who have been confronted by truth and are recipients of His grace, understand how glorious and incomprehensible it is that the God of the Universe continues with us, abiding with us, our Emmanuel.

He is the Alpha. How unfathomable His love for you and me, that we are invited to partake of the Life of the Preexistent One! How comforting that He is also the Omega – the Last. Nothing in His Life ends, and nothing in ours can separate us from Him! Not angels or principalities, not anything we will face today or tomorrow, nothing above, beside, below or behind us, can remove us from the love of the Father that we have found in living in Christ our Lord!

12/12/2019 Reflections of Christmas 9

 John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

BUT! What a beautiful little word. Despite all of our ugliness and rebellion against Him, for those who step into the Light, we are not only accepted, not only forgiven, not only redeemed, He bestowed upon us power. It is a power not only to be possessed but exercised – the power to become children of God.

It is an identity given to those who will surrender themselves to His care as their Maker. We are not born into it, nor can we or any other will ourselves into it. Physical or mental prowess means nothing. It cannot be bought, and you can’t work enough to receive it. No, this identity is a gift granted to those who selflessly yield their lives to Christ, who by His Word, created us and sustains us, and by His Light, illuminates our hearts and souls, banishing the darkness.

It is a gift that invites us to begin to be. Not do, not act, not promote, but to simply be His and interact in all the possibilities of heaven. It is a restoration to our created purpose. This identity enables us to triumph over darkness, and allows us the privilege of calling the God of the Universe, “Father.” It is a gift of grace, not to be ignored, but embraced and cherished. We are wanderers no more. We are home, and we are welcome. He has planned for us with great delight! Why?

We are His children, and you are welcome to join the family!

12/11/2019 Reflections at Christmas 8

John 1:10-11, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”

He bore witness of Himself – a true witness, yet none received Him. He came to reveal the Father, but man “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” We embraced our way rather than His, choosing to remain blind rather than obtain our sight; delighting in sin over holiness.

In His love, the Word that upheld the world condescended to enter it, only to be rejected by those who did not believe and those who claimed the promise but failed to recognize Him when He arrived. Though He was the Light of All and we acknowledged His light in our midst, we denied The Word’s power to change us – nor did we desire it. We wanted our own way and do so still.

What love then the Father has bestowed on us in giving us His Son! What unfailing love that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!

12/9/2019 Reflections at Christmas 7

John 1:9, “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”

True in every sense of the word. Never false.  Christ’s nature in every point corresponding to His claims. There is nothing defective in His character or person. He is perfectly true; indeed, the Truth. And, in truth, He illuminates all around us, showing us that He is the Way.

He has shown the way to every man, imprinting His image, His law, His life throughout creation, and He has written eternity in our hearts. We are without excuse.  He has made Himself known and cannot be faithless to Himself.

And it is into Himself – the Way, the Truth, and the Light – that He has invited us all. He is no respecter of persons. We are not obligated to accept; however, He has promised that one day we will be confronted with the Truth. Not yours, not mine, but the Truth, pure and unadulterated, in which no darkness can exist. And it is this Truth that shines as an eternal beacon of hope, whispering, “Come home,” to all, beckoning us to follow Him through the shadows of death and into to the reality of His holy light.