Tag Archives: salvation

What Will I Do with Jesus This Christmas?

Once again we find ourselves in the middle of the Christmas season bombarded with the canned secular musical tunes promising unattainable holiday happiness. Department stores display stacks of winter sweaters and discount stores offer pre-packaged food and beauty product gifts to expedite our Christmas purchasing. And, is it just me, or do many decorations look even gaudier and more cheaply made this year?

what-will-i-do-with-jesus-this-christmasBut long ago, over 2000 years ago, a baby was born and the intention was He would be the focus. Not the hyped-up holiday we now celebrate.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1-2, NIV) I need to pause and reflect on this truth. The Word is the eternal Logos—Jesus—who was with God since the beginning, but is also God. This fact is a mystery, and is a lot to wrap my head around and comprehend.

But our Father God, whose Hebrew name is El, sent Jesus to us.

El means “might, strength, and power” and yet, He appeared as a tender baby.

The contrast amazes me: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 14:1a)

But why did He come? Why did God become man? John 6:38-40 (NIV) states, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Scripture is revealing God the Father to me and His plan of salvation for us.

Furthermore, scripture discloses, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) This tells me Jesus came to forgive my sins. God became man for me.

How we process this truth differs with each individual, and I ponder why it’s easy for some to take their step of faith and why it takes others a long time. Or, why do many never seem able to comprehend God’s love and offer of salvation?

What will you do with Jesus this Christmas season? Will you embrace El, our mighty, strong, and powerful God, who came to earth as a tender baby? Will you say “yes” to the baby Jesus?

Father God, I’m tired of all the trappings and secular meaninglessness of Christmas. I want to receive you, know you, and embrace you. I say “yes” to the baby Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Matthew 1:23 (NIV): “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, God with us.”

John 3:16 (NIV): “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

© 2016 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Winter 2016/2017

Do We Appreciate God’s Gifts?

Clustered around the kitchen table, we were joyfully celebrating our granddaughter’s fifth birthday. With each present she opened, she exuberantly exclaimed, “It’s just what I wanted!” gift-553143_640After chuckling during each episode, I began to ponder how I regard the gifts God has selected for me. Do I treat my days, which are gifts, with passion? What about talents the Lord has endowed on me? Answered prayers?

Our granddaughter displayed excitement and thankfulness along with a sense of awe and wonder with every single gift she received. What about me—do I do the same?

God’s greatest provision to me is my salvation, which should thrill me every day. After all, it’s exactly what I asked for and I did receive it. Psalm 118 is a hymn of thanksgiving for God’s deliverance and salvation. Verse 14 (NIV) declares, “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation” and later in verse 21 the Psalmist expresses his thanks: “I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.” This is how I want to value God’s gift of salvation. As I purpose to thank my Lord each morning for my salvation, this in turn, enables gratefulness in me for every day He gives me.

As I continue to question how I approach God’s gifts, I want to focus on joyfully accepting and appreciating what the Lord has bestowed on me. God generously supplied me with many talents. Now, granted, I wish He had given me a decent singing voice and the ability to carry a tune since I love music and love to sing, but that one just wasn’t in the cards for me. However, as my awareness of the capabilities God has granted me increases, I enthusiastically want to stretch myself and use those gifts to further His kingdom.

Awe is defined as “a strong feeling of fear or respect and wonder.” (Merriam-Webster.com, 2016) Habakkuk the prophet celebrated God praying, “I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works.” (Habakkuk 3:2a, NLT) One way God shows His marvelous works is by responding to our prayers. Do I regularly pause to reflect on all the prayer needs God has met? This should fill me with awe and wonder, as the vast number of answers is miraculous. I offer God my thanksgiving for answered prayer.

Smiling to myself, I watched our granddaughter continue her joyful and thankful cries of delight. Soon, we discarded the wrapping paper, toys were set free from their impossible packaging, and she was enraptured with all her birthday presents.

Father God, Please transform my heart to one of gratitude for all the gifts you’ve provided me. I thank you and praise you for my salvation, and ask you to enable me to approach each day with a childlike sense of awe and wonder as I view your marvelous works and recall your answered prayers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Hebrews 12:28 (NIV): “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

1 Timothy 4:4 (NIV): “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.”

Ephesians 5:20 (NIV): “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

© 2016 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Archived Devotions, Spring 2016

Make Your Reservation

As I’ve thought further about my earlier post and the beauty of the Augusta National Golf Club, I’m reminded of John 14:2.cloud-593161_640 “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” Heaven is real and our Lord has prepared a special place for each of us who trust in and call on Him as Lord and Savior. The beauty will be indescribable–make sure you put in your reservation.

There’s only one way to reserve your special place in heaven. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

 

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Filed under Archived Blog Posts, Spring 2016

Not Insignificant

Early in my life I craved acceptance. Acceptance from my parents, teachers, relatives, peers. This would drive me to seek approval from others, and upon entering my teenage years, I found myself determined to belong to a specific circle of peers. Desiring to feel accepted and therefore significant, I set to prove myself by excelling at my schoolwork. Although I did do well academically, there was still a void in my soul, no matter how hard I worked. The emptiness I felt fueled the uncertainty my life was not remarkable.Not Insignificant

A scripture I’ve known for years states, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV) As I reread this, the portion which tells me God’s works are wonderful strikes a chord in me. In other words, His creation, which includes me, is wonderful!

Wonderful means “extremely good, marvelous, and astonishing.” That’s what I am in God’s eyes.

I see the largeness of the world around me and the smallness of man, and yet, I’m still valuable, worthy, and precious in God’s eyes. Yes, I’m precious in His sight. Do you remember taking comfort as a child in the song Jesus Loves the Little Children which ended in the words, “They’re all precious in His sight”? I am just one lone person, but Jesus took the time to die for my sins.

Matthew 6:26 (NIV) confirms our value with Jesus’ statement, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

Francine Rivers, in her book Sons of Encouragement, fittingly describes Aaron stating, “He felt small but not insignificant, one among many, but cherished.” The calling to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt did not go to Aaron, as it did to his brother Moses, but God did choose him as Moses’ mouthpiece to speak His Word. God established a purposeful assignment for Aaron. Likewise, the Lord has given each of us a different sphere of influence extending to our family, our neighborhood, our community, and beyond. As we tap into what God individually gives us to do within these areas, we grow in confidence and significance. Within our realms we have worth and validity, as we seek His will for our respective lives. There is nothing mundane about that.

Still immersed in my academic pursuits, it was during my college years I reached out to Jesus Christ. My Savior was patiently wooing me and waiting for me to figure out only He could offer the acceptance and give me the significance I longed for. He took and transformed my meager life into one of substance.

Father God, No matter how little my life seems at times, I thank you for choosing me and for giving me value and significance in your eyes. I also praise you for placing me here, for such a time as this, as a woman of influence within the realm you designed for me. Thank you for creating me as a wonderful work of yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Luke 12:6-7 (NIV): “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Isaiah 43:4 (NIV): “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you . . .”

John 1:12 (NIV): “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

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Filed under Archived Devotions, Winter 2016/2017